MANILA, Philippines – The general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) believes it is unfair to label the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 as the worst in the world.
In an interview, General Manager Jose Angel Honrado said the ranking done by "The Guide to Sleeping in Airports" (https://www.sleepinginairports.net) is unfair since much has been done to improve the airport.
“Palagay ko hindi masyadong makatarungan yung pag-declare nila ng worst airport. However, we take this as a challenge, we have done so much already," he said.
Honrado admitted that lack of space constrain authorities from giving the airport toilets a modern look. "The challenge is space eh," he said.
He, however, denied complaints that the rest rooms have no toilet paper and no running water.
“I have to deny the report na walang water at toilet paper dyan. Yung water, we have high water pressure,” he stressed.
“Once in a while nagkakaroon sila ng repair. At kapag walang tubig naman eh ang repair ay during the closing hours, normally 12 midnight up to 4 o’ clock in the morning.”
The website also pointed out the rampant incidents of extortion inside the airport, something that Honrado said airport authorities had already resolved.
“Basically yung sinasabi, mayroon pang ano, extortion sa airport natin. Eh most of the issues noong 2010 eh na-resolve na. Siguro palagay ko tanungin natin sa gumawa niyan [review],” Honrado explained.
He also said the Customs and Immigration bureaus have started cleansing their ranks of corrupt workers looking to extort passengers.
"Marami na ang ginagawa. Marami nang nahuhuli, napaparusahan, natanggal sa trabaho, at kasong nasampa," he said.
Honrado dismissed claims of theft inside the airport, citing the presence of airport police inside the airport at all times. He said the complaints of theft against airport workers, saying that some items could just be misplaced.
“Napakahirap patunayan na ito’y nakawan, posibleng naiiiwanan ito. Mayroon tayong helpdesk doon. May lost and found. At marami ring nare-recover sa lost and found. Maraming laptop ang naisosoli natin at maraming passport ang naibabalik sa may-ari.”
He also said that they have made measures to prevent non-essential personnel from loitering around the airport.
Clark, NAIA-1 facelift
The airport chief admitted that the airport is only showing signs of wear and tear after 30 years. He said the only solution for this problem is for the country to have a new international gateway in Clark, Pampanga.
“When we start comparing NAIA-1 to the rest of Southeast Asia, specifically Hong Kong and Singapore, [it is] lagging behind.”
“Kaya nga ang thrust ng DOTC [Department of Transportation and Communication] ngayon ay we have to have a new gateway, that’s why we are pushing for Clark as the new gateway that will give us a modern building and ample space para sa airport operation. Ang challenge lang is how we connect Clark to Manila.”
Honrado said the result of a structural study will be released by November that will determine if NAIA-1 can still take up renovation.
He added that the airport management is trying to make little improvements in the airports such as the planned replacement of carpets, and widening of the departure and arrival areas. – with dzMM and ABS-CBN News Channel