No longer the worst airport in the world, just the most embarrassing

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JUST when we thought revelations about criminal activity and gross mismanagement at the nation’s main international airport – the airport through which 20 foreign heads of state and thousands of other high-level visitors to the APEC summit will be passing in just a few days’ time – couldn’t get any worse, another completely ludicrous and shameful story appears.

On Thursday, it was disclosed that closed-circuit television cameras and monitors that were supposed to be installed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport along with new x-ray equipment as part of a security upgrade were not in fact installed; if this news wasn’t bad enough, it was revealed on a day that security arrangements for the upcoming APEC events were undergoing final scrutiny by President BS Aquino 3rd and his Cabinet officials, and while Senate hearings about the infamous “tanim-bala” (bullet planting) extortion racket were being held.

The CCTV cameras, had they been in place, may very well have helped to prevent “tanim-bala,” or at the very least, made identification and apprehension of the perpetrators much easier. And of course, CCTV cameras ought to have been considered a basic measure to help ensure the safety and security of the many delegates to the APEC forum. The reason these cameras are not available, however, turns out to be a breakdown of basic bureaucratic competence: According to the supplier, the Manila International Airport Authority only paid half the bill for the security systems, and thus were delivered only x-ray machines and not the CCTV equipment that was part of the package ordered by the government.

The budget for the government’s APEC preparations has been widely reported as being P10 billion, a hefty sum that exceeds the entire yearly budget of several government agencies, but one that the head of the National Organizing Council described as “moderate” in response to widespread criticism from the public.


“Moderate” is not the word we would use to describe a large-scale expenditure that quite clearly did not include even a cursory review of airport security measures to make sure that all which were expected to be in place had been provided and were functioning properly. It is only natural, at this point, to ask the alarming question, what else has the government overlooked, and what, exactly, has it spent P10 billion of our hard-earned money on?

NAIA may no longer be considered the “worst airport in the world” – that dubious honor now belongs to an airport in Nigeria – but from our point of view, it is clearly the most embarrassing. While the Senate committee devoted not a little time in its hearing Thursday afternoon trying to determine who specifically was to blame for the unpaid bills and missing CCTV equipment, we think it hardly matters: No one involved with the management and operation of The World’s Most Embarrassing Airport has been able or willing to do even a barely adequate job, or even any inclination to try; leaving any of them in place for even an instant longer critically jeopardizes safety, the peace of mind of all travelers, and whatever shreds of reputation the Philippines still has on the global stage.

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15 Comments

  1. Sergio Gonzalez on

    Whine, whine, whine! Every one has become so dependent on the government for everything that they expect government to fix every problem. It is time to mature and stop sucking from the teat of a government “Give Me Money And Protect Me From Cradle To Grave” mentality.

    Bottom line: Every citizen is responsible for fair and equal governance. Every citizen must stand up and say “NO” when they see even the slightest infraction being committed. We are our brother’s keeper! In a gracious manner we have to point out to our fellow citizens their flagrant violations of existing laws. Government can not be in every place and all at the same time.

    If you want things to change, then you first have to start making a difference at the individual level. When officials and leaders see your concern, it will put their feet to the fires of change. But if you just sit on your backsides and do nothing, there is no motivation for officials and leaders to expend the effort to make positive changes. You have to remember that our honest officials and leaders are placing their lives in danger when they go against established corruption. We must give the honest persons a reason to continue their fight.

    Case in point: When my friends and I pass through the airport, they lag behind me and film me on their cellphones as I pass through the inspection area. Once I am through, then I film them with my cellphone as they pass through the inspection. No criminals are going to prey on us! You see folks…you MUST become proactive. You MUST take personal responsibility to prevent criminals from preying on you. If you expect change, you MUST remember that it starts with individuals and reaches up to the top.

  2. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport lost its “prestigious” position as the world’s worst airport not because NAIA improved. It is because others got worse and some were just found to be uhh, worse!

  3. TANIM BALA is easy to solve! ABNOY or buw-ABAYA can give directive to Honrado or OTS to confiscate the bullets found in the luggage without filing a case…PROBLEM SOLVE. It will also stop the extortion scheme at the airport. Ang kaso ni hindi man lang mag salita yun president sa mga incidente na ito. kala niya siguro di dapat pagukulan ng pansin ito. Kahihiyan na ng bansa natin nakataya dito kaya dapat matigil na ito.

  4. APEC meeting will not make our lives better. It will surely disrupt out lives reroute get traffic .. Closing down and affecting businesses.. Loses in the private sector will run into the billions from business disruptions because some guys wants to smell like a rose and shine literally at out expense ,, no substance . Just form .. With his guests laughing at his back since they know the truth of deception and lies and the straight path to a sinking economy ruled by oligarchs but a suffering people

  5. Maximino Zurbito on

    So, it’s time for the President to issue an Executive Order renaming the airport into MEIA-Most Embarassing International Airport.

  6. Matthew Parkes on

    Is it time for another country to invade the Philippines again as it is clear that Filipinos are utterly incapable of managing their own affairs?

    • Matthew Parks,

      You are hereby awarded to receive FIRST PRIZE for the most #%£~&# suggestion.

      YOUR PRIZE: The whole country of the Philippines including all the corrupt politicians, corrupt govenment employees & ALL THE CORRUPT & INCOMPETENT NAIA AIRPORT MANAGERS & EMPLOYEES.

  7. So, the giant media who campaigned Abnoy and installing him a president, they committed sins and we are suffering of the consequences.

    The Giant Media who campaigned Abnoy installed him a president not with his knowledge to run the government but their knowledge to manipulate him.Until today these giant media through their false survey still campaigning Abnoy’s anointed candidates to pursue his matuwid na daan but actually this is the most pinakamaruming daan that makes the most embarassing government around the globe.

  8. You stated that the reason the CCTV ‘s were not delivered is because only half of the bill was paid. The normal transaction is that the materials must be delivered first before payment can be demanded unless it is COD, in which case, full payment upon delivery. In the NAIA, is the procedure different?

  9. MIAA earned over 4.0B over the last 9 months alone for fees collected from passengers. This is what its general manager Gen Honrado told the senate hearing yesterday. With these lots of money, budget certainly is not the problem. Airport operation all over the country is a booming business, so it is a puzzle why they can’t improve airport facilities. Another case of noynoying? Or the money is evaporating.

    • The senators should have asked also how muchnis collected from foreign airlines……landing rights, parking fees, etc……and where does this money go….

    • I hive been in this county for now 8 yrs –Traveled frequently back n forth to Australia

      I am not surprised at the title bequeathed to the airport–

      I do not say lets have a nanny state ..

      .But the airport is the first thing any visitor see when they land here

      ..The way it looks feels and even smells –Makes a really big impact –

      -If you are going to invest here -live here or just visit//

      This airport the way you are treated by everyone including security guards–
      Has a big factor on your impression of the country ..

      .If you are a visitor diplomat or business man –You will no doubt relate these impressions when you get home ..

      So it behooves the govt well toi put the “|best foot forward” as the saying goes /

      If we want to go back to being “The pearl of the Orient “: Once again…. lets show any one who comes here that we can, do as well as the rest of the world –If not better ..

      Instead of seeing our tax Peso going into “Pork Barrel scams…

      Rather lets see an Airport we can be proud of ..

      Dr David M Meyer (PhD psych)

    • Yes Sir, these gadgets were purposely not installed to give way to the operation of the syndicate under the nose of an Angel na kamag-anak ni Abnoy.