Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Palace: Let Congress decide on proposal to rename NAIA

Lawmakers will have to decide whether to pass the proposal to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to the Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas (PPP), Malacañang said Monday.

“Iniiwan po namin iyan sa Kongreso dahil kinakailangan po ng batas kung kinakailangang baguhin ang pangalan ng NAIA,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.

Roque made the statement amid criticism over House Bill 7031, which was filed by President Rodrigo Duterte’s son, Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte, ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Yap and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

Vice President Leni Robredo said it was inappropriate to push for the name change amid the COVID-19 pandemic while Senator Leila De Lima dismissed the proposal as “devoid of any salutary objective” and a product of “politics and and stupidity.”

Robredo and De Lima belong to the Liberal Party, which counts Aquino as one of its former leaders.

In filing their proposed measure, the younger Duterte stressed the need for a more representative branding for the country's international gateway.
Velasco said that their proposal seeks to reposition the Philippines as a choice destination for tourists, especially when the country reopens its borders for travelers once the COVID-19 crisis is over.

Yap added that they want returning Filipinos or balikbayans and foreign tourists alike to see the name of the country right away once their flights land at the airport, making them feel at home.

The original name of the airport was Manila International Airport, but in 1987 it was renamed NAIA through Republic Act 6639, in honor of Aquino who was assassinated at this airport on August 21,1983 after a three-year exile in the United States.

His death sparked various protests and catapulted his wife, Corazon, to the presidency in February 1986 following the ouster of then President Ferdinand Marcos in a bloodless People Power revolution.