THE attempt on the life of Iligan City lone district Representative Vicente “Varf” Belmonte did not affect the operations at the Laguindingan Airport, an official of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) said Friday, December 12.
“It’s business as usual at the Laguindingan Airport,” said airport manager Engr. Jose Bodiongan.
Bodiongan said the ambush of Belmonte’s convoy that left three of his escorts dead happened on the road going to the national highway in Barangay Gasi, Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental and not at the terminal.
The airport security is composed of the police officers from the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB), the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Aviation Security Group, and the blue guards.But he said the airport’s security protocol has been intensified and he has instructed all the uniformed enforcers to conduct profiling of persons coming in and out of the terminal.
“They (airport security personnel) had been trained to conduct profiling of persons. They should apply all the trainings that they had been through,” Bodiongan told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro by phone.
In an interview over Magnum Radyo on Sunday, Bodiongan said the outer-layer security, the area outside the terminal, runway and airport facilities, is the responsibility of the Laguindingan police.
Bodiongan said the PNP-Northern Mindanao recommended constructing a guardhouse near the highway, but “sad to say, naunhan ta,” referring to the ambush.
The guardhouse, which could have prevented any untoward incidents, is expected to be finished before the end of the year.
At the time Belmonte’s two-vehicle convoy was attacked by still unidentified suspects, Bodiongan said he was in Cagayan de Oro attending an engagement.
When he was informed of the incident, he rushed right away to the crime scene and instructed in advance the airport’s ambulance and some of the armed security to respond.
He said the Laguindingan police arrived minutes after the airport ambulance responded.
As part of the airport’s security measures, Bodiongan said Caap is in the process of installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras on the perimeter fence and runway.
The second phase of the CCTV installation would include the road going to the airport, he added.
He said he could not cite the exact amount of the CCTV project but Laguindingan is one of the seven airports in the country that is undergoing upgrading and improvement.
Bodiongan said the police officers from the RPSB assigned to Laguindingan Airport is now 16, adding he is grateful for the augmentation of the law enforcers.