"My only beef with the proposal to rename the airport is the name itself."
The other day, three members of the House of Representatives—Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco and ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap—filed House Bill No. 7031, renaming the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas.
“We need a more representative branding for the international gateway of our country, thus our proposal renaming NAIA to the Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas. Aside from it bearing our country's name, it is in our national language," Duterte pronounced.
According to the three lawmakers, changing the name to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas would reflect the legacy of the Filipino people, aside from the fact their proposed name bears no color, nor any political agenda.
Further, renaming the airport to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas, they claim will provide the country a competitive edge as our neighbors open their doors, too, to visitors, at the same time giving every Filipino a great sense of pride and ownership of the country’s biggest and largest international airport.
Critics of the Duterte administration, expectedly, were quick to jump on the issue lambasting at the timing of the filing of the bill amid this pandemic.
Personally, though, I don’t see anything wrong with the timing as I believe the government is attending to the COVID-19 crisis alongside the other issues it is facing. The Legislative has done its share, empowering the Executive with funds and measure it needs to address the contagion. Most of us are inclined to believe the government’s actions are still wanting—then again, who was prepared for this situation?
If indeed the critics are serious in their claim that the filing of the bill was ill-timed, then maybe they could start by asking Congress to put on hold its hearing for the franchise application of ABS-CBN as we cannot afford Congress to devote much of its time hearing a private measure.
Anyway, the move to rename NAIA is not something new as this was initiated about two years ago by lawyer Larry Gadon.
In 2018, a group headed by Gadon pushed for the renaming of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to its original name, Manila International Airport, saying it’s not right to name the country’s prime gateway after a politician like the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino.
Actually, Gadon said then it’s against the law which states that naming of establishments or public places after dead personalities, requires a 10-year prescription period. Ninoy died in 1983 but they already changed MIA’s name in 1987.
It was in 1987 that the original name of the biggest airport in country, Manila International Airport (MIA), was renamed to NAIA through Republic Act No. 6639.
Gadon said that naming the country’s premier airport after Aquino is just a way of promoting his name; an indoctrination. Some sort of brainwashing Filipinos to think he is a hero, which he is not, Gadon insists claiming the late senator committed acts that he should be held accountable for, such as his “fake account” of the Jabidah massacre in 1967 and his connivance with the communists in the bombing of Plaza Miranda in 1971.
By projecting him to be a hero, Gadon says Aquino’s clan can continue to dominate Philippine politics.
Nonetheless, Gadon extends his appreciation to Duterte, Velasco and Yap for finally seeing the wisdom in proposing to change the name of NAIA.
However, what I find weird is the choice of name of the three lawmakers. Aside from the fact that is too lengthy and which could even give foreigners a hard time pronouncing.
And be it in Filipino or English (Philippine International Airport) could create confusion as there are other international airports in the country. There are international airports in Clark, in Cebu City, Davao City, etc.
So, why not simplify matters and just revert it back to its original name, Manila International Airport as proposed by Gadon? Why complicate things when we don’t have to?
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The other day, I had a brief chat with a politician-friend and we discussed possible scenarios for some local politicians, especially those who failed their constituents during this crisis.
While many, my friend claims are expected to lose following their miserable performance the last three months, he projected a battle royale in their province as local leaders there, as of this early, are already waiting for the next Christmas party a gubernatorial aspirant is expected to host.
According to my friend, the husband of this wannabe governor, a regional director of a government line agency. threw P10 million in crisp P1,000-bills in the air, sending all their guests—all locally elected officials, scrambling on their knees.
“Parang house blessing kung magpa-agaw ng pera. Pero hindi barya, tig-iisang libo,” my friend said.
Couldn’t they had just handed the cash directly to each of their guests?
While my friend claims the wannabe governor will be facing an uphill battle against the incumbent governorm given his leaders had been tested by his constituents in the 2022 elections, the money expected to pour from the side of the challenger would surely play a major factor.
Well, that is worth watching for.