Fault current amid "relatively aging" facilities was among the causes of the Labor Day power outage at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3, a Meralco official said.
In a press briefing, Noel Espiritu explained that fault current is an abnormally huge amount of current flowing through a circuit. The electric overload then leads to circuit tripping, and eventually power outage.
"Parang sa mga bahay natin, kung meron tayong main circuit breaker... minsan nagkakaroon ng short circuit sa ating connection," Espiritu said, adding that an electrical component was already replaced following the fault current issue.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Jaime Bautista, meanwhile, was looking into a possible "sabotage" in the system. Bautista said he asked the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency to conduct an investigation.
"Meron bang sabotage? Di natin dini-discount iyan. Dapat nating pag-aralan mabuti lahat iyan," he said.
Espiritu, however, said they haven't seen anything "deliberate" so far.
"Ang sabi nga nila, relatively aging na ang facilites," he said. "Kung aging na ang ating mga alambre at wiring, lumulutong na. Kung minsan, ang insulation nawawala na. Nagca-cause iyon ng short circuit."
Still, Espiritu said they're looking into the exact cause.
Bautista said the Manila International Airport Authority, which manages NAIA, will also conduct a full electrical audit at the airport terminals, taking around 60 to 90 days. There will also be budget and procurement activities.
The Labor Day power outage took place from 1:05 a.m. to 8:46 a.m., the MIAA said.
At least 48 flights from Cebu Pacific had to be canceled, affecting over 9,000 passengers. Some 4,000 passengers from AirAsia Philippines were also affected.
Senators, meanwhile, called out the DOTr and the MIAA for supposedly not taking measures to prevent another airport disaster.
Describing the situation as "unacceptable," Sen. Grace Poe in a statement said it's like the DOTr and the MIAA "never learned" from past issues.
“The incident shows another disruptive failure of the airport systems causing grave inconvenience to travelers,” said Poe, who chairs the senate committee on public services.
Sen. Nancy Binay questioned the preparedness of NAIA during such emergencies, especially that summer is the peak season for traveling.
"[W]e are again in every social media portal, news channel and newspapers across the world," Binay said, adding that the outage "pointed to a string of inadequacies that showed how weak, bad and vulnerable our airports are."
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said they'll "definitely" exact accountability from concerned officials, especially that there have been promises to improve services following the New Year's Day flight disruption.
Those whose flights were affected last May 1 may rebook their flights for free within a 30-day period or have their tickets refunded via CEB wallet, said Cebu Pacific.