Congressman wants NAIA renamed after Marcos Sr.

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2022 07:33 PM | Updated as of Jul 06 2022 10:09 AM

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

MANILA (UPDATE)— Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. on Tuesday filed a bill seeking to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport.

“It is more appropriate to rename it to the person who has contributed to the idea and execution of the said noble project. This project was done during the time of the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Sr,” Teves claimed in the bill he introduced.

“It is more appropriate to bear the name that has contributed… in our country to make the Philippines a center of international and domestic air travel, who has instituted and built or conceptualized the project,” he added.

However, according to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), NAIA's international runway and associated taxiway were built in 1953, while a control tower and terminal building for international passengers were completed in 1961.

Marcos, Sr. was elected president in 1965, or 4 years after the completion of what came to be known as the Manila International Airport. 

Upon the enactment of Republic Act 6639 in 1987, the Manila airport was later named after late opposition Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., who was assassinated on its tarmac on August 21, 1983.

Changing the name of the airport would be historical revisionism, according to Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman.

"It is representative of the heroism of human rights violation victims like Ninoy Aquino so that name has been institutionalized and should not be changed because that...will be a revision of history," he told ANC's Headstart on Wednesday.

"I think we should be able to stop at its inception all these efforts of historical revisionism...They are starting with the renaming of the national airport. I will oppose that and I think many legislators will also oppose it."

Similar bills filed to rename the airport "died a natural death in the congressional tunnels," he added.

The Duterte Youth party-list group earlier filed a bill similar to Teves', claiming the airport's current name is "highly politicized."

But former presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said there must be congressional action to repeal the law that gave NAIA its current name.

"There has to be a congressional action to repeal [it]. It can be remembered that the Supreme Court in 2020 already junked the petition to nullify the said law," Andanar said in April.

In 2020, Rep. Paolo Duterte also filed House Bill No. 7031, proposing to rename the airport to “Pambansang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas.” 

Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara, Aquino's sister, has cried foul on the said bill, saying: "The revisionist congressmen are playing politics while attempting to deny their country’s history.”

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