Think NAIA when you vote!

- Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) - May 13, 2013 - 12:00am

Teka… parang ang layo. What has NAIA got to do with voting today?

Well, let me put it this way… we need a dramatic symbol to get us mad enough to demand change. A Ninoy Aquino all bloodied and murdered laying prostrate at the airport tarmac was the symbol that got the people angry and united to oust the Marcos dictatorship.

Today, NAIA is the best symbol of what is incorrigibly wrong about our country. NAIA stands for something no self respecting Filipino can be proud of. Mention NAIA and our heads bow in shame and our blood boil.

Last Thursday afternoon, my wife took a Cebu Pacific flight to Singapore to visit my son. She found NAIA 3 hot as an oven. The employees of the concessionaires there told her it had been like that since Holy Week. My associate, Rosan Cruz, confirmed it later as she took the evening flight of Cebu Pacific to Singapore too.

I found the news totally incredible. NAIA 3 is the only half decent terminal we have. And this cannot be happening at the peak of the tourism season.

It is stupid to spend hundreds of millions of pesos convincing the world it is more fun in the Philippines and then welcome visitors in an airport that is hot as an oven. As they go in and out of our country, that would be their first and last impression.

I sent a text message to DOTC Sec. Jun Abaya to ask what’s going on. He texted back that he will find out what is wrong. It got me wondering. More than a month of no air con in the heat of summer in a major terminal and the DOTC Secretary is unaware?

Credit Sec. Abaya for quickly texting back to inform me that the NAIA gen mgr, a close crony of P-Noy, told him that there is air con naman daw but it is just too hot the two chillers cannot take it. So he will put in another chiller the next day daw.

Palusot, if I ever heard one. We have been having really horribly hot summer days for weeks now and the NAIA gen mgr has made the brilliant decision to put in less than the required number of chillers working? And now he will put in a third because the DOTC Sec. found out?

Worse, he had the gall to tell Sec. Abaya that the air conditioning is working naman. Between him, my wife, my associate and the concessionaire employees my wife talked to, he has absolutely no credibility.

Most likely, his chillers are not working at full capacity, if at all, because of lack of maintenance. Or maybe he is trying to save on electricity but that is unfair because passengers are paying terminal fees. And why invest hundreds of millions of pesos in a tourism campaign and penny pinch on air conditioning?

If this retired air force general most beloved by P-Noy was working with Ayala, Rockwell, SM, Robinsons or even Megaworld, he would have been out of a job in the first week of no air con. Retired generals who can’t manage should just stay retired.

This is a simple case of cronyism on the part of P-Noy. This guy has had three years to prove himself capable and he has nothing to show but kapalpakan. He has constantly embarrassed the President, who is taking all the lumps arising from his incompetence.

Indeed, that airport is a national embarrassment. Yet, it isn’t hopeless. It is even the only logical one to have and we must do what we can to improve it dramatically. The National Competitiveness Council tried to do something by asking a group of designers to help.

But then DOTC Sec. Mar Roxas declined the help saying they can do well enough, thank you. Mar said they will first work on retrofitting needed structural improvements on the old NAIA 1 terminal building for about P2 billion and then think of improving aesthetics.

That was more than two years ago. They should by now be working on fixing the way the terminal building looks and the way activities there should flow. Nothing much is discernible. And to think we had the face to agree to host the APEC Summit meeting in 2015!

An investment banker, a very frequent traveler, posted in response to my Facebook status post about T3 that the air conditioning in T1 is also mostly inadequate or not working. 

I suspect the NAIA folks don’t want improvements because they feel threatened. There are too many vested interests in NAIA who want things to stay as they are. Everyone from food concessionaires to fixers, the one running the parking lot and the criminal syndicates victimizing OFWs and tourists don’t want change.

So we can look at NAIA as a symbol of what is wrong with the Philippines from corruption to sheer bureaucratic incompetence. My complaint is… why is P-Noy tolerating all these?

P-Noy can make NAIA a symbol of how his Daang Matuwid works but so far he has not done that. Why?

P-Noy told Bloomberg last week he believed his parents would be happy with what he has achieved so far as president, though they would tell him it’s not enough. He told Bloomberg:

“When I was in grade school, I reported I was top three in my class and my dad in particular said: ‘Top three? That’s good. When will you be number one?’” he said. “If they were to talk to me face to face, they would say: ‘It’s not enough, you have to go higher than what you have achieved,’ and I agree with them.”

I agree with them too. P-Noy has accomplished a lot already but there is so much to do and he can do a lot more if he took his blinders off and got rid of his non performing cronies.

Right now, I imagine P-Noy being visited by the ghost of his late father Ninoy. And the conversation between Ninoy and P-Noy goes like this:

Ninoy: “Anak, wala ka bang magawa talaga sa jaskeng NAIA na yan? Patay na ako pero hiyang hiya pa rin ako dahil pangalan ko ang naka paskel dyan… Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Napakasakit pakinggan! Parang binabaril ako sa tarmac araw araw.

P-Noy: Sorry…  pinagbibigyan ko lang ang matalik kong kaibigan.

Ninoy: Puwes… mabuti pa siguro palitan mo na ang pangalan ng airport na yan. Alisin mo na ang pangalan ko. Gawin mo nang Ferdinand o Imelda Marcos International Airport o kaya Gloria Arroyo International Airport kasi ikinahihiya yan ng bayan. Mas bagay ang pangalan ni Marcos at Arroyo sa walang kwentang airport na yan.

P-Noy: kaunting pasensya na lang…

Ninoy: hindi ka ba nahihiya, anak? Pangalan mo din yan! Eh, kung multuhin kaya kita araw araw…

And so it goes…

That’s why today we have to deliver a message that it cannot be business as usual. Reject the traditional politicians.

I realize our choices are limited but there are a few worthy candidates in the P-Noy slate but almost the entire UNA slate is composed of the trapos we should get out of our system. Vote a lot of independents… the ones the surveys show have no chance of winning. Prove that People Power is alive and well!

That’s why today, I say think NAIA when you vote. That should get you embarrassed as a Filipino and mad enough to vote for change.

Who is the Filipino who is not embarrassed to foreign passengers with us on a flight as we disembark at a NAIA terminal? We all ought to be screaming like that anchorman in that old movie Network who urged his viewers to shout out of their windows “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more!”

An election is an opportunity to scream that message of disgust and we all ought to do that today. Think NAIA and get really mad enough to spark a revolution at your nearest PCOS machine.

I honestly feel P-Noy isn’t hopeless just yet. But he may be a little dense, a little hard of hearing and more than a little stubborn. We, his boss, ought to say loud and clear that enough is enough, we want a decent NAIA we can be proud of… the credit rating upgrade is fine, thank you very much, but we want a decent airport.

I could be wrong… but it is still possible to nudge P-Noy and his crew into accomplishing something we can see and not just take in blind faith, all before he goes back to Times Street in 2016.


Joji Villaescusa sent this suggestion on how to tell your friend his GF is ugly.

Pare, Pinoy ka! Hindi ka matandang foreigner na desperado na!

Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with