PASAY CITY -- The Ninoy Aquino International Airport MIAA (NAIA) has obtained SATISFACTORY RATING from the Australian Department of Home Affairs (Aus-HA) -- this was revealed by Aus-HA Aviation Security Inspector Michelle Annette Pearce during the exit brief held last 05 March 2020.

The rating was given after no significant security concern was observed during Aus-HA's nine-day airport and air carrier assessment together with the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) National Aviation Security Auditors from 24 February to 05 March 2020.

Pearce also noted that some gaps in the previous assessment were addressed, as she emphasized the importance of maintaining data in order to analyze trends and employ necessary actions.

According to Department of Transportation - Philippines (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, this development shows that the tireless efforts undertaken by the DOTr, Manila International Airports Authority (MIAA), and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) are now yielding positive results.

“This is a welcome development. I am happy that the Aus-HA recognizes the efforts of our agencies to improve safety and security in our airports. Just recently, US-TSA noted the improvements. Now, it’s Australia. Clearly, our efforts are really paying off, and it shows that we are on the right track,” the Transportation Chief said.

Meanwhile, Office for Transportation Security (OTS) Administrator Usec Raul Del Rosario said that the high rating can be attributed to the harmonized efforts of OTS and MIAA, which have significantly helped resolve the previous deficiencies through the Corrective Action Plans submitted to the OTS.

“We thank Aus-HA for their objectivity and transparency in providing their observations and explaining to us the root causes. Just last month, it was the US-TSA who had their assessment, and they told us that there were no findings and there were improvements, and we are happy," USec. Del Rosario expressed.

Manila International Airport (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal likewise expressed his gladness on the news, and pledged to sustain the developments.

“We are glad that the improvements made in the NAIA are being recognized. We, at the MIAA, remain committed to the continuous development of the airport, not only in terms of facilities, but also in ensuring security,” GM Monreal said.

For her part, Aus-HA Security Inspector Pearce noted that some gaps in the previous assessment were addressed, as she emphasized the importance of maintaining data to analyze trends and employ necessary actions.

Aus-HA Counselor Cristina Mojica, who has been part of the series of assessment in the past years, said, “I hope it has been a combination of observations, and learning and development for us. We have learned something from our partners, and from the people who had accompanied us over the nine days. As before, the challenge was to sustain improvements that have already been there, and to level up and achieve the full potential of your investment in technology and your human resources.”

While the said airport received a generally satisfactory rating, Mojica reminded airport authorities not to be complacent, as she encouraged them to push for sustainability and development.

“I suggest that there are more mountains to scale to achieve the sustainability that you want, and more importantly, to prevent new vulnerabilities from creeping in. Because they will always be there, and they will always find ways of getting in. In October 2019, at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) general assembly, the states resolved to strengthen international cooperation, to conquer threats to civil aviation through technical assistance and capacity building, consistent with the NO COUNTRY LEFT BEHIND strategy of the ICAO.” she added.

This is the second time that the NAIA has obtained a satisfactory rating, after the United States – Transportation Security Administration (US-TSA) gave its thumbs up last 7 February 2020.