IF there is one city in this country of indecent airport facilities that deserves a respectable airport, it is Tacloban. After all that typhoon Yolanda did in Leyte including blowing the Tacloban airport away, it is only just and meritorious that the DOTC replace the facilities that were there and bring them a level up.
But it is not so. I went to Tacloban about six months after Yolanda rampaged through Tacloban and was met with a roofless and waterless facility that nevertheless was pretty busy with the comings and goings of relatives, international institution personnel, and non-governmental organizations trying to contribute their bit to help put Leyte back on its feet. I expected that the next time I came back I would see a quantum leap forward, or maybe a modest step up in comfort and convenience.
No such thing. I was there last week but while the terminal has a roof, that is about it. It is the same size when it should have been enlarged for the number of flights and people that come through daily. There are not enough seats for the number of passengers or enough space for the ground personnel who have to work at the airport constrained into a cramped corner
Would you believe that in the restrooms they only have two stalls for the big number of passengers that have to line up to get to use them? You would think that if they bothered to put a roof they could bother to enlarge the space and come up with something comfortable like proper bathrooms. These would have been minimal improvements but not even that has been done.
And, of course, there was no airconditioning. Think of getting there at 4 p.m. for a 5:30 p.m. fight while the sun beats down, every seat is taken, and it is, in fact, standing room while the put-upon airline counter clerks are attending to numerous passengers checking in, asking questions, looking for somewhere to place themselves among the wall-to-wall people. One wonders how these employees can cope daily with the conditions that they work with.
Everything was in your face including two security checks within meters of each other, the luggage conveyor belt next to the gates and using space that should have been used for seats, a few pop up stores in what should have been free passage corridors, lines at the bathrooms, crowds along the counters and everyone sweating it out as though in a sauna. What nitwit is responsible for this travesty of an airport?
As a mere put-upon passenger I was eventually told (because of course I was not privy to see and experience it), that there was actually a VIP facility nearby constructed for the Pope’s visit last January but which has since been used only for VIPs. So probably that is where the DOTC muck-a-mucks are brought so as not to experience the hellhole that is right there and known to all as the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport. Really, Daniel Z. Romualdez must be turning in his grave for the use of his name for this disgraceful facility.
You would think that if they had the time and made the effort to construct a VIP facility, they could have with a little more effort, a bit more time and some compassion and concern for Tacloban airport passengers, just done so much more to make things comfortable and decent while at it.
I can guess what Pope Francis would think had he seen what I am talking about and then been ushered into the VIP facility. As someone muttered when I bumped into her at the decidedly un-VIP facility, “This is the Third World.” Frankly, I would say, “Fourth World.”
I guess that is the story of the utter lack of decent public facilities for the traveling public, and in this case a public that has suffered enough with Yolanda. Let us not even talk about the tourists that this country supposedly is trying to attract.
I am not accepting budget cuts as excuses, or time constraints or whatever else they come up with to explain the Tacloban airport mess. It is an intolerable experience that has no rhyme or reason.