Senator Leila de Lima said moves from the House Representatives to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to the Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas (PPP) is a product of “politics” and “stupidity” in Congress.
De Lima issued the statement in response to House Bill 7031, which sought the name change and was filed by Presidential son Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte, ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Yap, and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.
“Ano na namang kabalbalan ito? The lawmakers pushing for it has a distorted sense of nationalism, if at all,” said De Lima.
De Lima is a staunch critic of the Duterte administration who was sent to jail over drug charges which she has repeatedly insisted were trumped up.
De Lima said the proposal was “devoid of any salutary objective…. [and] plain and simple politics. And stupidity.”
In filing their proposed measure, Duterte stressed the need for a more representative branding for the country’s international gateway.
He said that aside from bearing the country’s name, their proposed name of Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas is also in the Philippines’ national language.
For his part, Velasco said that their proposal seeks to reposition the Philippines as a choice destination for tourists, especially when the country reopens its borders for travelers once the COVID-19 crisis is over.
Yap, meanwhile, said that they want returning Filipinos or balikbayans and foreign tourists alike to see the name of the country right away once their flights land at the airport, making them feel at home.
The original name of the airport was Manila International Airport, but in 1987, during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino, it was renamed NAIA through Republic Act 6639, in honor of her husband and former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
Ninoy was assassinated at this airport on August 21, 1983 after a three-year exile in the United States.
His death sparked various protests leading up to the first EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, during which the Marcos family fled the Philippines to Hawaii and Corazon was catapulted to the presidency.
De Lima belongs to the Liberal Party, the former ruling party from 2010 to 2016 that counts as among its members the Aquino couple’s son and eventual President Benigno Aquino III, Duterte’s predecessor./Stacy Ang