The newly-built Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPCIA) has been slapped with a P50 thousand administrative fine by the regional office of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) for violating basic fire safety regulations.
Senior Fire Inspector Nilo Caabay, the city fire marshal, said they served the formal notice to airport management Monday, and gave it 3 days to pay the fine and 15 days to comply with their recommendations.
The notice of violation was signed by BFP Regional Director, Senior Superintendent Roderick Aguto.
Caabay explained that upon initial inspection, they determined that the PPCIA has no secondary exits, and had not even tested its alarms and sprinkler systems. He added the facility has no occupancy permit and no mandatory Fire Safety Inspection Certification (FSIC).
He also stated that the airport management was given “ample time” to correct the violations, but found out after a follow-up inspection that there was no compliance.
“Binigyan talaga sila ng ample time pero wala pa ring development,” Caabay said.
The violations, he added, are expressly provided in Republic Act 9514 otherwise known as the Revised Fire Code of the Philippines.
“Pagkatapos ng three days ay babalik ang ating mga safety officers para ma-verify kung may compliance na. Mataas talaga ang safety standards sa mga airports. Binibigyan sila ng 15 days to comply,” he said.
In a separate interview, airport manager Engr. Percival Malonesio told Palawan News they are already in the process of complying all the recommendations of the BFP.
Lahat ng sinabi nila kino-comply namin pero hindi naman agad-agad kasi may proseso.Hinihingi namin yong mga document nila previously na wala pa kami at isusubmit namin sa higher up namin sa Manila para matulungan. Inayos naman namin,” he said.
“Ang kulang lang iyong sa mga exit na luminous stickers para sa mga exit namin, at hinahanapan naman namin. Ang gusto nila hundred percent compliance,” he added.
Malonesio also expressed frustration with the manner of serving them the notice of violation.
“Medyo nadismaya ako sa sulat niya kasi di man lang sila dumaan ng protocol. Wala silang pa-appointment,” he added.
Meanwhile, Caabay said they opted not to post a tarpaulin announcement of the violation as part of their standard procedure upon the request of the airport management.
“Medyo nagalit si Manager (Percy Malonesio) pero ginagawa lang natin ang part natin. Ginagawa natin ito kasi inuutusan kami,” he said.
Caabay noted that the problem could have been avoided if the design of the airport was processed with the BFP. He said the documents were processed only after the building was completed.
“Sana nung bago itinayo ang building ay pina-process na nila ang papel para ini-evaluate ng mga evaluators. Para naka-incorporate na ang mga safety features doon. Ang nangyari ay tsaka nag-process nung tapos na ang building at gagamitin na,” he said.
Caabay explained that their office was compelled to issue the notice of violation as part of their mandate.
“Kung hindi kami mag–enforce, paano kung merong mangyayari? Hindi na tayo mag-antay ng ganung scenario na merong mangyayari,” said Caabay.