CAGAYAN DE ORO -- Laguindingan airport management here has been compelled to use Instrumental Landing System (ILS) due to the moderate haze that has now reached Northern Mindanao.
According to the Australia Airservices and Civil Aviation Authority, an ILS is a ground-based instrument approach system which produces 'highly accurate radio signal navigation aid' used by pilots landing at an airport when there is poor weather and/or low visibility.
It consists of two antennas which transmit signals to receivers in the aircraft cockpit. These antennas provide the pilot with vertical and horizontal guidance when landing in low visibility.
Airport manager Engr. Jose Budiongan confirmed the information saying that pilots are using ILS at the moment rather than the usual visual landing.
"Satellite-guided ang atong pag-landing because of the poor visibility," Budiongan said.
Budiongan said that the visibility when landing is measured at only three kilometers adding that they started noticing the haze last Saturday, October 17.
"Dili gyud nimo maklaro ang dagat na normally man unta maklaro man kay duol ra gud siya sa airport," Budiongan added.
But Budiongan assures a safety landing with the high-tech instruments available in the airport.
Meanwhile, Victor Flores Jr., Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in El Salvador City said that the haze reached Northern Mindanao by Sunday with 8-kilometer (km) visibility.
"We are experiencing a moderate haze pa gihapon, moderate pud ang visibility," Flores said adding that the normal 25 km visibility has dwindled to 10 km as of 2 p.m. on October 22.
The moderate haze covering Northern Mindanao has been due to the Indonesia forest fire that started since July this year.
Indonesia has been battling to end the forest fires but experts say that the thick smog will remain until next month due to the El Niño which contributes to the heat.
Malaysian's Environment Minister has recently said that the forest fire in Indonesia is impossible to put out unless rainy season starts there.
Earlier this month, Indonesia has sought help from Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and recently Russia to drop tons of waters to the affected area.
In the Philippines, Flores explained that the smoke being experienced here and other parts of Mindanao persisted with the presence of Typhoon “Lando.”
"Ang west-southwest na dagan ni Lando mao ang nakabira sa haze sa Northern Mindanao, and as of now, mao pa gihapon ang direction sa atong hangin, so mulungtad pa gyud ang haze," Flores said.
Flores said they still cannot give a definite timetable on when the haze would disappear.
Budiongan noted that he suddenly has flu, including his staff in the airport.
"Tungod na siguro ni sa haze kay sugod gyud atong Saturday, diha man pud nasugod ang trangkaso," Budiongan said.
Flores advised the public to wear face masks specially those having pulmonary and respiratory diseases.
The DOH 10 and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) have to measure the severity of the haze have yet to comment on it.
In an article published in the Ministry of Health in Singapore, the health effects of haze are mainly caused by the "irritant effects of fine dust particles on the nose, throat, airways, skin and eyes."
The health effects of haze will "depend on its severity as measured by the Pollutants Standards Index (PSI)."
"Most people would at most experience sneezing, running nose, eye irritation, dry throat and dry cough from the pollutants. They are mild and pose no danger to the health of the general population," the article reads.