By: Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY: Following a near-disaster incident at the Legazpi City Domestic Airport on Saturday afternoon involving the son of Civil Aviation Authority regional director Frisco Santo Domingo Sr., Mayor Noel Rosal recommended to Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza the removal of the entire CAAP personnel immediately here.
Besides 72 CAAP personnel the Philippine National Police (PNP) aviation security group (PNP-ASG) personnel are also in hot water due to their negligence and inefficient security measures for allowing the son of director Frisco Santo Domingo Sr., to drive a car and cross the airport’s runway despite the regulations set by the air transportation authority.
The PNP-ASG led by Supt. Emmanuel Talento is a support unit overseeing the security and other procedural matters to ensure safety measures within the airport premises.
“I was fuming mad. If not for the alertness and presence of mind of the French pilot, it could have been a major and catastrophic air disaster in the country specifically in Legazpi City for the first time,” Rosal said.
The Cebu Pacific flight 5J172 was fully loaded with 88 passengers that included Tourism Secretary Ace Durano and members of his family.
Mayor Rosal and Tourism director of Bicol Maria Nini Ravanilla were then at the arrival area of the domestic airport to welcome Secretary Durano.
Mayor Rosal said that manager Santo Domingo was not in the office when the incident occurred.
“I talked to the pilot of Cebu Pacific, he told me that it could have been a major air tragedy. It was the pilot’s split second decision that aborted the landing. I recommended the immediate removal of Santo Domingo and his staff for negligence and poor management,” Mayor Noel Rosal told The Manila Times.
Mayor Rosal who had witnessed the near air disaster along with Tourism director Maria Nini Ravanilla of Bicol said Santo Domingo is liable for his serious negligence. Despite strict policies, a Lite-Ace van with his son driving crossed the runway of Legazpi airport.
“How could he allow his son to use the runway as access road? I am the mayor here and I respect the airport’s policy,” said Mayor Rosal.
Unconfirmed reports said that Frisco Santo Domingo Jr., suddenly crossed the airport runway to show off to his girlfriend that he could use the airport runway as access road on their way to the civil aviation office. But local authorities here neither confirmed nor denied the report.
SPO1 Romulo Letada Jr., said the gray Lite-Ace van with plate number RBX103 driven by Frisco Santo Domingo Jr. crossed the runway shortly before the arrival of the Cebu Pacific flights from Cebu-Legazpi vice versa.
Capt. Christopher Nowicki, a French pilot of the Cebu Pacific aborted and maneuvered the landing plane upwards to evade a gray Lite van that suddenly crossed the runway to prevent major air tragedy.
Immediately after the incident, Nowicki proceeded to the aviation security police office and filed a complaint. An unverified report stated that a lone employee was in charge of the control tower instead of three personnel working altogether at the time Nowicki went to the civil aviation authority office to file his complaint.