La Industrial by Jose Guevara
“No-grales, No Progress,” cried Kapatirang Isip Malaya, a multisectoral organization, protesting a congressman’s alleged campaign to delay the rehabilitation of NAIA.
Awash on Social Media is the exploits of PBA Partylist representative Jericho Nograles as he reportedly leverages his position to stall the progress of President Duterte’s legacy project of building a world class International airport for Manila as the premier gateway to the country. The public has expressed their outrage with calls of him being anti-progress and anti-Filipino as well as tagging him as the “Pambansang Talangka” for his crab mentality as he attacks a fellow Filipino company who has successfully completed two international airports, Mactan Cebu International Airport and Clark International Airport, one of which has received numerous global awards already.
“Despite supposedly being politically aligned with the President and his brother working as cabinet secretary, Congressman Nograles’s own words indicate otherwise,” Junex Doronio, KAISMA president, said.
In an interview on DWIZ, “Sapul ni Jarius Bondoc,” last Saturday December 12, 2020 where Congressman Nograles was a guest, he accused DOTR Sec. Tugade as incompetent and claimed that he has not done anything for NAIA and that all improvements are from the previous administration of former Pres. Aquino.
Yet, Sec. Tugade has accomplished so much in his term from inaugurating numerous airports, transport terminals, as well as subways and trains. As for NAIA, this administration has stopped the “Tanim Bala”, increased sitting capacity, improved the efficiency of airport operations and improved the rating so it is no longer one of the “worst airports” in the world.
In fact, records shows that from 27 million passengers during the Aquino Administration it has ballooned to 47.8 million as of last year, 2019, despite it being built to only accommodate 30+ million.
This is an accomplishment in itself and testament to efficient work of the current administration. Travel experiences last year was a far better experience than travels during the Aquino administration.
As astute as Sec. Tugade is, he has been working to improve NAIA but the bureaucratic process has hampered the excellent work he intends to do. This latest incident with Congressman Nograles posing as the latest hurdle.
Megawide, after completing two world class International airports ahead of schedule and under budget, has offered to help the Duterte Administration complete as many legacy projects before his term ends with the rehabilitation and renovation of NAIA being a key project. Megawide in a press statement commits to the riding public that within 6 months the public will start to feel the improvements. Not only that, all 14,000 jobs are secured and will most likely be hiring more people, which is critical especially because of this pandemic.
“Yet the ‘Pambasang Talangka’, Mr. No-grales, No Progress, is blocking the project. Since the early start of the pandemic, Megawide having the foresight as well as thinking of the well being of the public had wanted to capitalize on the lockdown to make the improvements so as to not inconvenience the public once the lockdowns are lifted and travel resumes. TIME IS TICKING, and all he does is pull the project down,” Doronio stated.
Terry Ridon of Infrawatch meanwhile said that this issue created by Nograles will drag NAIA’s rehabilitation beyond the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
He urged the various departments to work together to solve the matter and fast-track the NAIA rehabilitation project.
“There is no better time to undertake needed rehabilitation work than now, given reduced passenger volume due to the coronavirus crisis,” he pointed out.
Commuter group The Passenger Forum (TPF) also urged the DOTr, NEDA, and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to update the public if the rehabilitation plan will still continue.
“This is the best time to rehabilitate NAIA while there is less air traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said TPF convenor Primo Morillo.
“What happened to the proposal? Ano na? Anyare? Also, we would like to get an explanation from private proponent regarding delays in its project approval. What is taking you so long for the project to proceed?”
Morillo underscored that the rehabilitation is urgently needed as NAIA is operating beyond its capacity, which, he said, is the reason for many passenger problems and inconveniences such as long lines, flight delays, and even the lack of resting areas.