With due respect, ‘am borrowing, in part, the upbeat soundtrack of the 1984 American film Beverly Hills Cop “The Heat is On,” recorded by Glenn Frey, which goes:
“the heat is on, on the street…
and the beat’s so loud, deep inside
the pressure’s high, just to stay alive
caught up in the action
Yes, Virginia, this aptly described the on-goings at the country’s gateway thumping the management of Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and indirectly struck the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
Not that I was among those stranded early this week when an eight-hour power outage hit Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3, causing scores of flight cancellations. Though there were available gensets were insufficient to power up the air condition (AC) system.
I feel the discomfort and can fully empathize with stranded passengers as I’ve experienced such and the feeling was uncomfortable, horrible, even. Brings to mind the awful feeling I had on my trip back to Manila from Iloilo before the Lenten break.
In my books, Iloilo International Airport is nowhere within the standard of an international gateway. Fine, check-in process was satisfactory but, goodness gracious, the entire building has no functioning AC. Waiting for my PAL flight announcement, which was delayed, was close to nightmarish with one open restaurant having two electric fans to cool the place but not enough and the humidity virtually unbearable.
From what I gathered, Aboitiz InfraCapital (AIC) is keen on improving the airport. On April 19, AIC submitted an unsolicited proposal to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to undertake the expansion and upgrading of Iloilo International Airport at a cost of roughly P10 billion.
The proposal is now under scrutiny by NEDA's Investment Coordinating Council, which evaluates the fiscal, monetary and balance of payments implication of major national projects and recommends to the President the timetable for the implementation.
Cosette Canilao, AIC president and chief executive officer, was quoted as saying that the infrastructure-arm of Aboitiz Group has “the right ingredients … in terms of experience and expertise … to deliver the best solution for Iloilo.” AIC has Dublin Airport Authority as its technical partner.
Going back to the MIAA issue, the question going around the metro is the identity of these “anonymous” petitioners who filed the complaint on the alleged “grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service” against Cesar Chiong and Irene Montalbo with the reassignment of 285 employees and designation of Montalbo as assistant general manager for finance and administration “notwithstanding her unsatisfactory rating”
In a three-page document/decision penned by Ombudsman Samuel Martires, Chiong and Montalbo, who “cannot deny her participation in the reassignment of MIAA employees because … it is her function to advise the general manager in the formulation and implementation of administrative matters,” were “placed under preventive suspension without pay for the duration of the proceedings until the same is terminated, but not to exceed six months.”
DOTr Secretary Jaime J. Bautista maintained that reassignment of staff falls within the prerogative of Chiong as MIAA general manager.
As the plane’s turbine engine spins and with tourism as one of the anchors of economic recovery, I hope this airport squeamish, which speaks volume of the manner by which our international gateways are being managed, be addressed soonest to make travel easier and more comfortable.
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