MANILA – Malacañang on Monday distanced itself from the lawmakers’ move to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas (PAPAPI).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace will leave it to Congress to file measures they wanted.
“Iniiwan po namin iyan sa Kongreso dahil kinakailangan po ng batas kung kinakailangang baguhin ang pangalan ng NAIA (We leave it to the Congress because there is a need for a law to rename NAIA),” he said in a virtual presser.
Last week, Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte filed House Bill No. 7031, saying there is a need to identify the country’s largest international airport as belonging to the Philippines by using the Filipino language.
“We need a more representative branding for the international gateway of our country, thus our proposal renaming NAIA to the Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas. Aside from it bearing our country’s name, it is in our national language,” Duterte said.
The presidential son said he wanted the country’s main gateway to “reflect the legacy of the Filipino people” without bearing any color nor political agenda.
The bill was also authored by Marinduque Rep. and House energy committee chair Lord Allan Jay Velasco and ACT-CIS Rep. and House appropriations committee chair Eric Go Yap.
Velasco said the proposal aims to reposition the Philippines as a choice tourist destination as the country prepares to reopen to travelers once the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic is over.
Yap said the country’s main gateway should reflect the Philippines and the Filipino nation.
It was in 1987 that the original name of the biggest airport in the country, Manila International Airport (MIA), was renamed to Ninoy Aquino International Airport through Republic Act No. 6639 during the administration of then President Corazon Aquino.
The airport was renamed in honor of the late senator, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. who was assassinated in its tarmac on August 21, 1983.
Vice President Leni Robredo has criticized the lawmakers’ plan to rename the NAIA, questioning their “sense of history”.
She also said renaming NAIA was “ill-timed” amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (PNA)