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Duterte orders local flights to Sangley Point

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the immediate transfer of domestic flight operations to Sangley Point in Cavite to ease the congestion at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

The President issued the directive in a Cabinet meeting on Monday, hours after he visited Naia Terminal 2 in Pasay City to check on flight delays caused by inclement weather.

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At a press briefing on Tuesday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President wanted Sangley airport to accommodate domestic flights by November this year.

Testing of ferries

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Panelo earlier quoted Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade as saying that he had already initiated the testing of ferries from SM Mall of Asia in Pasay to Sangley Point to check if they could negotiate the distance within 18 to 24 minutes.

Located in Cavite City, Sangley Point is a former naval station now under the control of the Philippine Air Force.

Panelo said the President also expressed his dismay and “displeasure” at the flight delays and “hinted at revamp” at Naia.

The President also expressed his preference for a single entity, “either a military or civilian force,” to handle the security at Naia, Panelo added.

Tugade was expected to prepare an executive order on the proposed reforms in the airport for the President’s consideration.

Outgoing Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV described President Duterte a “pathological liar” for promising to shrink travel time from Cubao, Quezon City, to Makati City to only five minutes before the end of the year.

“Have we not learned our lesson from his (failed promise to end the drug menace) in three to six months?” Trillanes said at a press briefing.

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The President rose to popularity during the 2016 presidential campaign with assurances of curbing the country’s illegal drug problem within three to six months of his presidency. He eventually admitted this was an impossible feat to accomplish even through his six-year term.

‘Caught lying’

“If this was a case of swindling, he has already conned us several times. Have we not learned from that?” Trillanes asked.

“Duterte is a pathological liar. He cannot stop himself from lying. He has been used to that when he served as mayor of Davao,” he said.

The senator also brought up the President’s previous admission that he had fabricated his claim that Trillanes had several foreign bank accounts.

“He was caught lying. Will we not hold the President accountable for lying? Now he’s promising to (make the travel time from Cubao to Makati) just five minutes?” he said. —With report from Marlon Ramos

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TAGS: domestic flights, NAIA congestion, Rodrigo Duterte, Sangley. Point
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