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Claim: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Senator Raffy Tulfo ordered the closure of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video with the claim has 1,200 views as of writing. It was posted by a YouTube channel with 73,900 subscribers.
According to the video’s thumbnail and title, Marcos supposedly issued a new order to shut down the country’s main gateway.
What the video shows: The video discussed the alleged human trafficking incident at NAIA last February and showed muted clips from the February 21 Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the issue.
The facts: Neither Marcos nor Tulfo issued an order to shut down NAIA. Tulfo also made no mention of closing the airport during the Senate hearing shown in the video. The video merely featured online comments suggesting that the airport be shut down over previous issues of mismanagement and inefficiencies, such as arbitrary immigration restrictions and the so-called “pastillas” scam.
A similar claim was fact-checked by VERA Files on April 20.
Human trafficking: On February 13, an alleged human trafficking scheme occurred at NAIA when a Dubai-bound private plane took off with several “unauthorized individuals” after authorities failed to stop the flight, even after receiving an anonymous tip.
A Senate probe on the incident revealed that police officers had no direct contact with the relevant airport authorities who could have stopped the plane.
In one of the Senate hearings, Tulfo said the issue could be related to a turf war among the Manila International Airport Authority, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs, and other authorities. He also floated the possibility of bribes being given to airport officials.
What Tulfo said: During the February 21 hearing, Tulfo presented a nine-point recommendation, which included canceling or suspending the license of the aircraft ground handler Globan Aviation Services Corporation, clearly defining airport security protocols, identifying last-minute passengers, stopping the entry of private vehicles in restricted areas, and creating a processing center for private plane passengers.
End of investigation: The Senate blue ribbon committee probe wrapped up on March 20, with panel chairperson Senator Francis Tolententino calling on aviation agencies to be consistent in enforcing security procedures. There was no mention of an airport shutdown during the hearing.
False claims: Rappler has debunked false claims related to the airport, particularly rumors on its closure and supposed change of name:
- FACT CHECK: Hindi papalitan ang pangalan ng NAIA sa utos ng Pangulo
- FACT CHECK: Marcos has no plans of shutting down NAIA
- FACT CHECK: Marcos did not order renaming of NAIA
– Ailla Dela Cruz/Rappler.com
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