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GM Ines calls on airlines to take care of excluded passengers

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A call was made by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Eric Ines on airline companies to make sure that they take care of the welfare of passengers who have been denied entry into the country for various reasons.

In a meeting with the Airline Operators Council (AOC) and Philippine Airlines (PAL), Ines noted that some excluded passengers are forced to sleep on cardboards at the airport’s floors.

Ines said the airlines should fly their passengers back to the country of origin, once they have been transferred from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and barred entry into the country.

The airport general manager said: “I call upon our airline operators to do their part of the responsibility over passengers who are denied entry into the country. We must remember that though inadmissible, they are still first and foremost, airline passengers. The responsibility of taking care of them does not end there.”

A plan had been brought up by the AOC with the MIAA on how to manage excluded passengers who may require extra time to be repatriated. Said plan is set to be reviewed by the Bureau of Immigration to ensure compliance with the Immigration Act.

PAL meantime, said it will house their excluded passengers in their lounge which is still under construction in NAIA Terminal 1 and that passengers of other airlines with existing lounges in Terminals 1 and 3 may also be accommodated inside their lounges too.

“The airlines may also use MIAA Passenger Lodging Facilities (PLF) for this purpose but subject to the guidelines of its use as stated in MIAA Memorandum Circular No. 3, series 2019. We provide these facilities primarily for transiting passengers but under our guidelines, excluded passengers are given priority,” Ines said.

He added: “MIAA has a main lodging facility in Terminal 3 located at the second level with an extension near Gate 116. These rooms have beds, simple storage, toilet and bath, a charging station and a simple dining area equipped with a refrigerator and a water station. Combined, these facilities can accommodate 33 passengers.”

In a related development, the BI said that while the bureau oversees immigration process and enforces laws, they are no longe responsible for providing necessary facilities like the exclusion room for barred passengers.

According to BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval, “the same necessitates that the excluded passenger be boarded to the next available flight back to the country of origin. The responsibility to ensure strict adherence to these requirements lies with airline operators.”

“The ultimate responsibility for facilitating the departure of excluded passengers lies with airline operators and with airport management authorities providing necessary facilities and logistical support for it,” said Sandoval.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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