Palace distances from Duterte son's push to rename NAIA

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2020 03:01 PM

Filipinos arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), January 11, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA-- Malacañang distanced itself from the proposal of President Rodrigo Duterte's congressman son to have the Philippines' main airport renamed to drop the name of martyred Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr, also the symbolic head of their political foes.

Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte along with ACT-CIS Party-List Rep. Eric Go Yap, and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco co-authored a bill to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport into Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas, saying this would help make the Manila airport easily identifiable as the Philippines' main terminal. 

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Palace would leave the matter to Congress to decide.

"Iniiwan po namin 'yan sa Kongreso dahil kinakailangan po ng batas kung kinakailangan palitan ang pangalan ng NAIA," he said on Monday. 

(We leave that matter to Congress because a law needs to be enacted to change the name of NAIA.)

The airport was named after Aquino Jr in 1987, a year after the People Power revolution that installed his widow Corazon Aquino as president and toppled the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

The couple's son, former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, was the predecessor to the incumbent, Duterte. 

Aquino's Liberal Party is currently the political opposition.

Vice President Leni Robredo last week called Duterte's move ill-timed, as authorities worked to contain the increasing cases of coronavirus infections. 

"When I first read about it, iyong pinaka-tanong ko sa sarili ko: 'Ngayon pa talaga?' Ngayon pa talaga na dapat all hands on deck tayo na nagtutulong-tulong para masugpo iyong pandemya," Robredo told CNN Philippines. 

(I asked myself, 'Now, for real?' Now when all hands should be on deck to help curb the pandemic.) 

"Number one, it’s ill-timed. Number two, alam naman natin why it was named Ninoy Aquino International Airport. So iyong tanong, where is our sense of history?" she added. 

(We know why it was named Ninoy Aquino International Airport. My question is, where is our sense of history?)