Bill to change NAIA name filed in Congress

Passengers push the trollies loaded with their luggages as they arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 in Manila, Philippines.
Passengers arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 in Manila, Philippines on October 19, 2011. (Photo: NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. is proposing 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,” Teves said, who filed the bill on June 30 but only released it to the public on Tuesday (July 5).

“This project was done during the time of the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.,” he added in the explanatory note of House Bill (HB) No. 610. “It is more appropriate to bear the name that has contributed and legacy in our country to make the Philippines a center of international and domestic air travel, who has instituted and built or conceptualized the project in making pride of our country.”

There have been similar attempts in the past to get rid of the name and change it to a more general one. In June 2020, former deputy speaker Paolo Duterte, former President Rodrigo Duterte’s son, and some other lawmakers submitted a bill to rename NAIA to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas (Philippine International Airport), supposedly to make the airport more identifiable as a Philippine-based airport.

However, the proposed bill, whose authors also include former Speaker of the House Lord Allan Velasco, did not prosper.

The airport, originally named Manila International Airport, was named after the slain former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., who was killed at the airport’s tarmac on August 21, 1983. It sparked a series of protests all over the country that eventually led to the ultimate demise of the late dictator, the elder Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986.

A year after Cory Aquino ascended to power through the People Power Revolt, Congress passed the Republic Act 6639 renaming it to the late senator.

Rappler previously fact-checked a similar claim that had been circulating online. The facts are the construction of the NAIA – at the time to be known as the Manila International Airport – began during the time of President Manuel Roxas in 1947. Before that, the original facility was used as a United States Air Force base.

The airport’s first international runway and taxiway finished construction in 1953 during the Elpidio Quirino administration. The elder Marcos assumed office in 1965, or 12 years after the airport was fully operational.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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