Airports on heightened security alert after Jolo bombing

Aika Rey
Airports on heightened security alert after Jolo bombing
The Office of Transportation Security raises 'Security Condition 2,' which means an additional layer of security measures must be employed by aircraft operators and state agencies

MANILA, Philippines – Airports are on heightened security alert following the bombings in Mindanao, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) confirmed.

In a text message to Rappler, CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio confirmed that heightened security measures “are currently employed as directed by the Office of Transportation Security (OTS).”

CAAP, in a statement on Friday, February 1, said that airport security councils (ASCs) in 12 area centers have convened to revist and update their contigency plans and simulate exercises in case of a bomb incident. The meetings simultaneously happened on January 28.

Apolonio said that several airports are under each area center. According to CAAP, ASCs were created in the following areas: 

  • Laoag
  • Tuguegarao
  • Plaridel
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Legazpi
  • Iloilo
  • Bohol-Panglao
  • Tacloban
  • Zamboanga
  • Laguindingan
  • Davao
  • Butuan

CAAP airports that have commercial operations have their own security councils as well, Apolonio said.

Meanwhile, the following Mindanao airports’ ASCs have also convened to assess and manage risks:

  • Jolo Airport
  • Sanga-Sanga Airport
  • Pagadian Airport
  • Dipolog Airport
  • Ozamis Airport
  • Cotabato Airport
  • General Santos International Airport

Apolonio said that the 12 abovementioned areas will be putting in place stricter measures, as discussed during their meeting:

  • Upon disembarkation
    • Aircraft security checks upon disembarkation
    • Aircraft access management
    • Mandatory removal of shoes
    • In-flight catering security plan development
    • Random searches using the Explosive Trace Detection System
  • Landside and airside security
    • Deployment of behavioral observation personnel at the passenger terminal building, front-of-the-house and landside parking area
    • Increasing security patrol visibility
    • Deployment of government armored assets
    • K9 Explosive Detection Units and bomb squad
    • Development of a strong security culture

OTS raised “Security Condition 2” in airports, which means an additional layer of security measures must be put in place by aircraft operators and state agencies. (READ: Bottled liquids banned inside train stations)

The police and military are on heightened alert after bombs exploded at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu.

The twin bombing, claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS), killed at least 23 and injured 109 people. The death toll rose on February 4. (READ: What we know so far: Jolo Cathedral bombing

Another blast happened inside a mosque in Zamboanga City. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, however, that he doubted the mosque attack was connected to the Jolo bombing. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.