MANILA -- The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday rescinded its public notice on travel to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) following the "significant improvements" in the Philippine gateway's security operations.
The rescission order "effective immediately" was made by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan on Thursday and was posted on the DHS website.
"After months of direct engagement with the United States, the Government of the Philippines has made significant improvements to the security operations of MNL (NAIA)," the DHS said in a statement.
"Both the Manila International Airport Authority and the Government of the Philippines civil aviation security authorities have demonstrated they are willing to work toward sustaining those improvements," it added.
The DHS issued a public notice regarding the deficiencies in NAIA's aviation security measures on December 27, 2018. That year, the US agency made an assessment that NAIA has failed to adequately implement and maintain international security standards and recommended practices established by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The US State Department has since provided at least USD5 million to help fund security improvements and personnel training at NAIA.
The TSA has also assigned Aviation Security Advisors to the Philippine government to assist with the development and implementation of corrective measures at the Philippine airport.
"DHS and TSA remain committed to working with the Government of the Philippines to help ensure a strong security posture at MNL and enhance global aviation security," the DHS assured.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr., for his part, thanked the US Embassy in Manila and some Philippine officials for their contributions in the travel notice's lifting.
"US Homeland Security lifted security concerns about NAIA. Congratulations US Ambassador Kim Sung for all the help; Philippine Ambassador Babe Romualdez in Washington for the unrelenting pressure; and DOTr (Department of Transportation) Secretary (Arthur) Tugade for doing in 6 months what US Homeland expected would take years. What a winning team," he said on his official Twitter account.
"In DFA, thank you Honey Isleta of American Affairs for not letting up with US Homeland in Bilaterals that it's gotta lift the restriction on travel to NAIA," he added.
To sustain the improvements cited by the US, President Rodrigo R. Duterte is planning to appoint an official to supervise the country's airport security, Romualdez told the Philippine News Agency. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency