Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. argued that it is only right to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) into the Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport because it was under the late president’s administration that the facility was "improved".
The lawmaker came under fire after filing House Bill (HB) No.610, or “An (Act) Renaming the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport” on June 30, the same day that Marcos’s namesake, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., took his oath of office and assumed the post in Malacañang.
“I’m not doing this for BBM (Bongbong Marcos). Nagsasabi lang ako ng totoo (I’m just telling the truth),” he said during an interview on ANC, adding that people are alleging that he’s trying to win over President Marcos.
“Ang sa akin lang (For me), let us give credit where credit is due. And also let’s be attuned to the times. If EDSA (revolution) was relevant before, today no more. If it is relevant today, BBM would never win,” Teves stated.
In his proposed bill, the lawmaker said that it was only right to name the airport after the President who constructed it, but this was refuted by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) who said that the airport’s international runway and associated taxiway were started in 1953, while the control tower was completed in 1961.
Marcos Sr. came to power in 1965.
However., Teves argued that it was the late Marcos and the latter's wife, former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, who improved the airport.
“Sino nagpaganda ng airport na ganyan? Ganyan na ba siya noong 1953? Or pinaganda ni Ma’am Imelda at ni Ferdinand Marcos ‘yan (Who upgraded the airport? Was it like that in 1953? Or was it upgrades by Ma’am Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos)?" he asked.
The lawmaker insisted that the country’s international hub has the same aesthetics as the Batasang Pambansa and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), which were constructed during Marcos Sr.'s administration.
Teves said it is important for Filipinos to know who worked to improve the Philippines, adding that he doesn’t want to give credit to those who “destroyed” the country.
In 1987, during the administration of former President Corazon Aquino, the then Manila International Airport (MIA) was renamed to NAIA in honor of her husband, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
Aquino Jr. was gunned down on the airport's tarmac in 1983.