Passenger Forum petitions Duterte to allow NAIA rehab before his term ends
MANILA, Philippines — More than a million respondents to an online survey want the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to start before the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Passenger Forum (TPF) pointed this out in a statement it issued on Monday announcing its filing of a petition to the Office of the President and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) urging the start of the NAIA rehabilitation project as part of the Duterte administration’s Build Build Build program.
The petition — copies of which will also be submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Services and the House Committee on Transportation — was based on the online survey conducted from Jan. 1 to 10, which was answered by 1,077,382 respondents as of 6 p.m. of Jan. 10.
Morillo, TPF convenor, said his group was hoping that the President would hear the Filipino people on this issue.
“We know that the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Board will be reconvening soon, and we hope that they and the Department of Transportation will see that this is what the Filipino people need and would want to see through before our President finishes his term,” Morillo said.
“For now, there was still no consultation made by the MIAA Board or the DOTr with stakeholders like us. The last time we were consulted about it by the government, as stakeholders, was in the Senate hearing last December. We will gladly sit down with them and work with them to make this happen. This is for the country, and that should be the most important consideration of all,” Morillo added.
With its most popular hashtag reaching 11 million views on Tiktok, the NAIA rehabilitation project drew widespread support online even as a cloud of uncertainty hovered over the initiative to improve the country’s primary international gateway.
The Tiktok trend also developed with the announcement of the TPF that its online survey found out that 96.7 percent agree that the project must proceed without delay.
“This poll further strengthened our resolve to campaign for the immediate rehabilitation of NAIA. There should be no further delay, the project has to start at the soonest possible time,” Morillo said.
The TPF and its supporters actively advocated for the online survey to be conducted through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok.
They used several hashtags for the campaign including #BetterNAIAnow, #FixNAIAnow, and #TransformNAIA.
“The campaign is most effective in Tiktok where all of the hashtags we used have at least 9.8 million views each,” Morillo said. “As Tiktok is used mainly by young people, we see this as the youth’s assertion that they want a better NAIA in the future that actually belongs to them.”
In previous statements to media, the TPF repeatedly asserted that rehabilitating NAIA could be done during the COVID-19 pandemic as it would cause the least inconvenience to travelers, with fewer of them using the airport.
Meanwhile, Morillo said: “We’re waiting and are on the look on what will be discussed by the MIAA and the DOTr to resolve their current issues with the private proponent that presented a comprehensive plan for the NAIA rehabilitation”
“We demand transparency from the MIAA Board, the DOTr, and even the private proponent. The Filipino people deserve no less,” he added.
Aside from favoring immediate NAIA rehabilitation, the TPF survey also found out that 95.8 percent of respondents agree that NAIA terminals need to be interconnected via a train system and that 96.3 percent prefer that the project should be done by a company with a proven track record in building quality airports.
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