'Not our bill': Palace says premature to comment on bid to rename NAIA

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
'Not our bill': Palace says premature to comment on bid to rename NAIA
A passenger sits alone at the NAIA Terminal 1 on May 3, 2020 after a suspension of international flights.
The STAR / Rudy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang was mum on the bill seeking to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after President Marcos' father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, saying the measure is still in its early stages.

"Malacañang has no comment yet on this one. It's just been filed, after all. It has not been subjected to first reading so any reaction would be premature, if any is even warranted at this time," Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said at a press briefing Wednesday.

"This is not a bill filed by Malacañang so it's not our place to indicate whether it is timely or not. It was the congressman who filed it so no comment for right now, particularly, you know, its (in its) very early stages really, it's just been filed," she added.

Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves, Jr. filed House Bill No. 610 renaming NAIA to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport less than a week into Marcos Jr.'s presidency.

In his explanatory note, Teves said the Manila International Airport was renamed after Ninoy in 1987 during the presidency of his widow, Corazon Aquino.

Ninoy, a senator who was critical of the policies of the elder Marcos, was assassinated on the tarmac of the airport in 1983, three years before the historic People Power revolt that ousted the former president.

Teves claimed that the airport project was done during the time of the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., who became the Philippines' chief executive in 1965.

"It is more appropriate to rename it (NAIA) to the person who has contributed to the idea and execution of the said noble project," the lawmaker said.

But according to the website of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which operates NAIA, the country's premiere airport was originally a US Air Force base until 1948, when it was turned over to the Philippine government.

The fledgling civil aviation airport's facilities were nothing more than the current domestic runway and a small building as its only passenger terminal, the website said. MIAA said the first 13 years of the airport were marked by the building of infrastructure dedicated to international flights.

"The international runway and associated taxiway were built in 1953, and 1961 saw the completion of a control tower and a terminal building for the exclusive use of international passengers at the southwest intersection of the runways. This system came to be officially known as the Manila International Airport," the website said.

During the previous congress, Rep. Ducielle Cardema (Duterte Youth party-list) filed a measure that sought to rename NAIA back to its original name Manila International Airport. Cardema claimed that the name of the airport had been "politicized."

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