'Leave NAIA alone': Drilon hits move to rename airport

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2022 11:32 AM

Former Senator Franklin Drilon criticized Wednesday a bill seeking to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport.

In a statement, Drilon said the incoming 19th Congress "has more urgent things to do than to rename an airport, such as how to arrest inflation and address the surging oil prices." 

"There is no compelling reason to change the name of NAIA. Any proposal to rename NAIA will always be seen as political and divisive,” he said. 
 
"This obvious attempt for ingratiation is actually a disfavor to President Marcos Jr. It will not augur well with the call for unity of the Marcos administration. Leave NAIA alone." 

In his bill, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. said it is more appropriate to rename the airport "to the person who has contributed to the idea and execution of the said noble project."

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."

In his statement, Drilon said renaming the country's main airport will divide the attention of Congress in pursuing much-needed legislation that can help the economy, strengthen the healthcare system and save the country’s education system from further deterioration.

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