On Monday, July 18, “Ang Probinsyano” actor Cesar Montano expressed his displeasure through a Facebook video when NAIA management conducted a flight re-route following the temporary runway closure ordered by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). All flights scheduled from 4 PM until 11 PM in NAIA were diverted to Clark International Airport.
The emergency situation was caused by a crack that was discovered earlier in the morning. However, its size had considerably increased after the number of planes that had operated during the day. It had measured five inches deep and nine meters long on the asphalt before the closure was ordered. According to MIAA’s General Manager Ed Monreal, this action was to ensure the safety of the passengers and aircrafts from unfortunate incidents.
Montano’s main ire lay with the inconvenience succeeding the unforeseen turn of events. According to his account, as shown on the video, he and all the passengers aboard the Philippine Airlines’ flight 454 experienced being stranded for four hours, while management did not fulfill their promise of a hot meal as compensation. Instead, only packets of biscuits were distributed to the passengers, causing several of them to faint from hunger. Deplaning became an even tougher feat in the situation, especially since there were not enough buses to attend to them.
PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna explained that the staggering number of passengers posed logistical challenges at Clark International Airport, seeing as thousands of people were present at that moment. “Hindi makatao itong ginawa nila sa amin,” Montano said. “Kung concern nila ang mga tao at priority nila ang safety ng passengers, they should amend their policy.”
Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade took responsibility for the incident and asked that the people accept his apology. He also said that he and his people would do their best to keep this from happening again. Furthermore, the Department of Transportation has stated that the runway will be immediately repaired to prevent further deterioration.