Solon defends move to rename NAIA, says fighting COVID-19 still priority
MANILA, Philippines — One of the lawmakers who filed a bill renaming the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has clarified that their proposal is not a priority and that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is still the top concern.
ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap said on Friday that House Bill No. 7031 — which looks to rename NAIA to “Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas” — has not been taken up in the plenary.
“We are not imposing this HB to be a priority measure. In fact, it has not been read in the plenary yet. As legislators, we are free to file measures anytime. It is up to the Committees when to schedule its deliberations,” Yap said in a statement.
“Our focus is still on addressing COVID-19 in the country. Recently, we have discussed the issues surrounding the high Meralco rates and the alleged corruption in the SAP distribution. We are also to discuss Bayanihan 2 in the coming days,” he added.
When news about the possible rename of NAIA, initiated by Yap with Presidential son and Deputy Speaker Rep. Paolo Duterte, and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, came out, people on social media criticized the three for supposedly thinking of such matters over the ongoing health crisis.
Vice President Leni Robredo said that the move to rename the airport is “ill-timed.”
Yap further explained that the rationale behind the plan to rename NAIA stems from the desire to create a new image for the airport, hailed as one of the worst international terminals in the world before.
He also noted that they are not discounting the contributions of late ex-senator Benigno Aquino Jr. whose son, former president Benigno Aquino III, has been considered as a critic of the administration.
“Previously, NAIA was identified as the world’s worst airport. But in 2018, our international airport was recognized as 10th most improved airport, according to British-based consultancy Skytrax’ 2018 survey. Along with this recognition, it is high time to rename NAIA so we could finally let go of its negative image,” Yap said.
“We are not discrediting the heroic contributions of late Senator Aquino with this proposal. We just deem it more appropriate for our international airport to bear the name of the country. Instead of it reflecting just one hero, we want it to reflect our everyday heroes — the Filipino people,” he added.
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