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FACT CHECK: NAIA power outages due to ‘inadequate maintenance,’ not sabotage


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FACT CHECK: NAIA power outages due to ‘inadequate maintenance,’ not sabotage
Claims of sabotage have reignited with the recent power outage in the NAIA Terminal 3, the third one within the past six months

Claim: The power outages experienced in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 were intended to sabotage President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook video, posted on June 6, has gained 6,500 views, 727 reactions, and 37 shares from an account with 88,000 followers, as of writing.

The video titled, “May SABOTAGE sa power outage ng NAIA!” has been reshared following the power outage in the NAIA Terminal 3 on June 9.

The bottom line: Even before the New Year incident, the NAIA Terminal 3 had been experiencing power outages back in 2016 and, more recently, in September 2022

A Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) report stated that the “inadequate maintenance program” on the terminal stations has been the leading cause of the power outages. Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista admitted that the air traffic management system in the airport was already outdated in a press briefing on January 1.

NAIA 3 records on the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) state that the terminal has a design capacity for 13 million passengers. MIAA has recorded 7.3 million passengers on Terminal 3 in the first quarter of 2023, 188% larger compared to the same period in 2022. More areas are needed to be powered to accommodate all the passengers.

Talks of sabotage: Senate investigation on the New Year blackout has ruled out cyberattacks and sabotage as causes, according to the state-owned Philippine News Agency (PNA).

In the PhilStar.com article that the video cited to support the claim, Bautista only said that possibility of foul play is yet to be dismissed as probable cause for the Labor Day outage, not as a prominent lead. The article also said that power distributor Meralco already pointed out “main circuit breaker problem” as the cause of the outage.

MIAA officer-in-charge Bryan Co has also denied allegations that power interruptions were related to talks of NAIA’s possible privatization.

Rappler has published several fact-checks on NAIA under the Marcos administration:

– Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com

Kyle Marcelino is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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