Duterte warns Naia takeover by PAF
President Duterte has warned that he would order the military to take over the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) if congestion and inefficiency woes plaguing the country’s premier airport remain unresolved.
Duterte said he would adopt the same solution he implemented at the corruption-tainted Bureau of Customs (BOC) for Naia—by letting soldiers take over airport operations.
“That Naia, if it does not improve, the (Philippine) Air Force (PAF) will take over. That’s the only way,” he said, without elaborating on his plan to improve the Naia.
The President made the remarks during a PDP-Laban campaign rally in Puerto Princesa City on Thursday night.
The Naia, the country’s main international gateway, has been beset with congestion and inefficiency in recent years.
The government has been looking for ways to decongest the airport by building alternative airports outside Metro Manila.
Permanent BOC takeover
The President has always preferred retired military officials for government posts, and has even directed the military to take over the operations of the BOC after two large shipments of “shabu” or crystal meth slipped through the Port of Manila, right under the BOC’s nose.
Meanwhile, the President said the military’s takeover of the BOC might be a permanent setup.
“This is my warning. To the Customs, the military there might be permanent,” he said on Thursday night.
Shoot smugglers on sight
He reiterated his order to Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, a retired military general, to shoot and kill smugglers on sight.
“My order to Guerrero was this, ‘Replace all the guards there and if you catch someone smuggling, shoot him, kill him and say that I was the one who ordered it,’” Duterte said.
He added that he even led the destruction of smuggled luxury vehicles and sports cars, since such vehicles end up in the hands of smugglers.
“They say that the corruption in Customs is unstoppable. Let’s see. Your life, not your pockets, will be at stake now,” the President warned.