Palace: Structural repairs the priority at Naia 1

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03:05 AM November 27th, 2011

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November 27th, 2011 03:05 AM

Form before beauty.

Malacañang on Saturday defended the Department of Transportation and Communications’ decision to shelve the plans prepared by a world-famous furniture designer and two others for the makeover of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1.

President Aquino’s deputy spokesperson, Abigail Valte, said the government’s priority in the facelift of Naia Terminal 1 was its structural needs more than “aesthetics.”

“At this point, we are concentrating on the structural (aspect), on the electrical and engineering works. Aesthetics will come later—the beautification, painting, arrangement of posts and furniture there,” she said.

Furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, interior designer Budji Layug and architect Royal Pineda earlier reportedly complained after the DOTC disregarded the plan they had prepared for the beautification of Naia Terminal 1 which has been described as the worst airport in the world  in an online survey conducted by  “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports.”

The ranking was based on reviews by travelers who complained, among other things, of “safety concerns, lack of comfortable seating, rude staff, hostile security, poor facilities, no (or few) services to pass the time, bribery, being kicked out and general hassles of being in the airport.”

The adverse report prompted the government to immediately clean the terminal’s toilets and provide water, toilet paper and soap.

Mr. Aquino has already approved a P1-billion rehabilitation plan for the terminal.

Transport Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II had said the bulk of the rehabilitation budget amounting to P500 million would go to aesthetics and the interior design of the terminal.

The government then contracted Cobonpue, Layug and Pineda to come up with a new design for the terminal.

But instead of adopting the proposal of the three designers, Roxas tapped the services of the original architects of the airport—Leandro Locsin and Associates—since they had the original blueprints and designs.

Valte recalled that Roxas had earlier “extended his gratitude” to the three “for the work they had done.”

“However, the focus of our rehabilitation now is the structural, engineering and electrical works,” she said, quoting Roxas who had discussed the issue in a briefing with Malacañang reporters.

“They are concentrating on maximizing the functionality of the airport because we all know that it’s already 30 years old. It was designed to accommodate, I think, around 4.3 million passengers. Now it’s accommodating more than double that figure.”

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