No OFW fired due to Jan 1 NAIA crisis, CAB tells House panel

No overseas Filipino worker (OFW) lost his or her job as a result of the New Year's day flight cancellations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The scene at NAIA on Jan.2, a day before the critical system glitch. (Norl Pabalate/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla shared this good news to congressmen on Wednesday morning, Jan. 18 during the House Committee on Transportation's resumption of its briefing on the NAIA crisis.

Arcilla said the information came from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), which according to him is part of the team that addressed the problem.

"I would like to make special mention about the OWWA, we are also coordinating with the OWWA and they're part of our team," he said.

"The OWWA assisted a total of 7,025 OFWs, 859 were provided meals, 174 were provided with hotel accommodation, and 183 were provided with transportation," the CAB chief enumerated.

"The OWWA likewise deployed roving nurses, midwives providing medical attention and supplies and ambulances, and maybe a good note to what happened, the OWWA also recorded no OFW displaced or terminated by their foreign employers," he added.

Last Jan. 1, a power outage hit NAIA's Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM). The system failure caused the cancellation of over 400 international and domestic flights that day alone.

Among those who weren't able to leave the country were OFWs who were supposed to return to their employers abroad following their holiday vacation.

70,000 affected passengers

Arcilla also revealed to solons that the flight cancellations stemming from the CN/ATM glitch affected 70,000 passengers in total and not 65,000 as previously thought.

"We have 70,000 affected passengers. This is bigger than the original number that we have presented before, simply because we have included here those who booked online but did not anymore proceed to the airport," he said.

That said, Arcilla believes that the government side was "successful" in responding to the crisis.

"Although--of course there are inconvenienced passengers during the Jan. 1 glitch, we believe that significantly the job of the concerned agencies were quite successful...It's not a perfect strategy that we have but we are trying to raise the bar on our approach," he said.