Airport bug
A number of passengers called out the Manila airport management after a few of them experienced getting bug bites – a fact acknowledged by authorities. Image Credit: Screengrabs

Manila: Visitors at the Manila international airport found a number of unwelcome guests – bed bugs that apparently thrive beneath a public metal bench.

A video taken by netizen Annegelli Bae Halili shows the creepy crawlies – locally known as “surot” – can be seen crawling about in a close-up shot of the tiny holes of a metal row seat bench at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

The video then zoomed out to show passengers at the departures section. Some concerned individuals took to social media to alert fellow passengers about the presence of bed bugs at the airport bench.


In an official statement, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) had immediately apologised and acknowledged receiving reports from individuals who claimed to have experienced bed bug bites at the terminal.

Two individuals had received medical assistance from airport medical teams, an official said.

In light of the complaints, MIAA General Manager Eric Ines promptly instructed terminal managers to investigate the matter and provide a comprehensive report outlining recommendations for resolution.

The ground staff were also immediately tasked to conduct thorough facility inspections and implement heightened sanitation measures. Ines says all chairs are regularly cleaned. He also offered to pay for medical expenses of the airport bug bit victims.

The government-run airport, which has four terminals, is on the cusp of a takeover by a private consortium, following a recently-concluded $3-billion operate-repair-maintain deal.

Seats removed

The official stated that the seats mentioned in the reports had already been removed, with ongoing disinfection protocols in place. The incident drew comments from a travel industry official and a senator.

“Nakakahiya pero isolated case lang siya. Sana hindi siya maging medyo malaking issue.” (It's embarrassing, but it's just an isolated case. Hopefully, it won't become a somewhat significant issue),” James Montenegro, president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, told a local radio show.

Senator Grace Poe said:

The airport, Manila’s only international gateway is also used for domestic flights, and has overshot its capacity. The 76-year-old airport is designed to handle 32 million passengers annually. Pre-pandemic, it was handling nearly 50 million. A $12.57-billion alternate airport, about 30 minutes by car north of Manila, is under construction.

Earlier this month, a consortium led by Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Holdings Corp. won a $3 billion bid to spruce up the NAIA, Manila’s one and only aviation gateway.

The group led by San Miguel Corp’s billionaire CEO Ramon Ang, vowed to carry out a massive airport makeover and bring it up to speed with global standards. The group offered to share 82.16 per cent of its revenues with government after it won in a three-way contest. The Php171-billion NAIA contract covers rehabilitation, operation, and maintenance of the facility.