Palace mum on bill renaming NAIA after Marcos Sr.

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2022 03:18 PM

MANILA - Malacañang is not in the position to comment on a House bill seeking to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s father and namesake, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Wednesday.

Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo "Arnie" Teves Jr. earlier filed House Bill No. 610 seeking to scrap former Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.'s name from the Philippines' main gateway, and replace it with the name of the slain senator's political nemesis, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.

"This is not a bill filed by Malacañang so it is not our place to indicate whether it is timely or not," Angeles told reporters. 

"Malacañang has no comment yet on this one. It was just filed... wala pa ngang first reading so any reaction would be premature if any is even warranted at this time," she said.

Teves claimed that the country's busiest airport should be named after Marcos Sr. as its construction was allegedly done during incumbency of the late President.

He also claimed that Marcos Sr. "instituted and built or conceptualized the project."

But records from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) showed that NAIA's runways 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, nearly half a decade after the completion of what came to be known as the Manila International Airport (MIA). 

The MIA was renamed NAIA in 1987 upon the enactment of Republic Act 6639 in 1987, to honor the opposition leader and vocal Marcos critic who was assassinated on its tarmac on August 21, 1983.

Former Sen. Franklin Drilon, an ally of the Aquinos, said in a statement that lawmakers should "leave NAIA alone," noting that changing the airports name would "not augur well with the call for unity of the Marcos administration."

"There is no compelling reason to change the name of NAIA. Any proposal to rename NAIA will always be seen as political and divisive,” Drilon said in a statement.

Albay Rep. Edsel Lagman earlier said that attempts to change the name of the NAIA would be tantamount to historical revisionism.