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Huwebes, Mayo 30, 2024

Pahayag ni Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri sa estado ng mga airport sa PH

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NAGPASALAMAT si Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri kay Sen. Grace Poe sa pagkakaroon ng hearing sa Resolution No. 1020 para ilunsad ang inquiry sa estado ng mga internasyonal at domestic airports sa buong bansa sa kanyang pambukas na pahayag sa Public Services Committee Hearing nitong Martes.

Narito ang bahagi ng kanyang pahayag.

“Napakahalaga para sa isang bansa ang pagkakaroon ng maayos at well-functioning na mga airport — hindi  lang sa ating turismo, kundi sa milyun-milyong Pilipino. Our airports are key sites that connect our islands and our people. They are also the first port of welcome that receives our tourists into the country, and are formative to people’s first impressions of the Philippines.

“Unfortunately, as it stands today, our airports seem to not do justice to what our beautiful country has to offer. Madalas pong madumi, mainit, sira ang mga pasilidad, at kulang-kulang ang mga serbisyo — maging domestic airports man o international.

“Kahapon, nabigyan tayo ng pagkakataon na pamunuan ang Senate Subcommittee hearing tungkol sa nakakabahalang lagay ng iba’t ibang mga airport sa bansa.

“Marami po sa atin ang na-perwisyo na ng mga sirang escalator, elevator, aircon, toilet, at iba pang pasilidad sa ating mga airports.

“Hindi pwedeng masanay na lang tayo sa ganito. Deserve ng bawat Pilipino ng maayos na serbisyo publiko.

“Kaya naman sa ating hearing, binusisi natin ang mga hakbang ng Department of Transportation at ng Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines para ayusin ang mga problemang ito.

“Every week, I get reports from friends from various regions about their awful experiences in our airports: mula sa mga sirang aircon at escalator hanggang sa kakulangan ng upuan sa mga waiting lounges. Isama pa natin dito ang perennial problem ng mga flight delays and cancellations, and we have a recipe for disaster.

“Kung ganito lang rin ang bubungad sa atin, eh sino ba namang gaganahan lumipad at bumisita sa ating bansa? How do we boost our tourism with airports like this?

“I want to thank (Tourism) Secretary Christina Frasco for joining us today, because I know that’s one of her frustrations. She has to have a whole-of-government approach for tourism, and everyone has to cooperate with her.

“To be fair, there have been efforts to make timely upgrades, as is the case with Camiguin Airport. The problem is, despite the budget for Camiguin Airport already being allocated for 2024, we still have no action on it.

“Initially, I wanted to focus on Northern Mindanao, but I got a lot of reports from the airports in Iloilo as well as NAIA on what’s been happening on the ground.

“Likewise, the airport in my home province of Bukidnon—I’ve been doing this since 2017—has long been under construction. Senate Majority Leader pa ako noon, Senate President na ako ngayon, poste pa lang ang terminal. At hindi po kami humihingi ng pondo sa DoTr, most of the funds, except for maybe one release, were all given by Senate initiative when we initiated amendments in the budget.

“Of course we understand that the delay was inevitable because of the pandemic, but to this day the Bukidnon Airport still remains unfinished. And I remember the last meeting with Director General Tamayo, the promise was before the elections. The elections are one year away. I do not know if you will be able to deliver on your promise.

“So we put the question to the Department of Transportation and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines: what is keeping us from going forward with the projects? And what are they doingto address these problems that our people have been experiencing in our airports in the last few years?

“Huwag po nating pahiyain ang ating bansa sa mga ganitong klaseng pagkukulang natin bilang public servants.

“We cannot subject our people to this level of inefficiency, and these low standards of service.

So I hope that this hearing yields us productive answers, and I thank the Chairperson—yesterday she made mention na ako na lang ang mag-Vice Chair at Subcommittee Chair nitong hearing para mabantayan ko ang developments at matulungan ko po si Secretary Frasco dito sa mga problema natin sa airports. Our airports are our weakest links in our efforts to boost tourism in our country.

“I was in Singapore about four months ago, and I noticed that when I arrived, the escalator in NAIA 3 was busted. Then I left for the Presidential visit to the Czech Republic, it was still busted. Then I went to the IPU in Geneva, sira pa po ang escalator, di pa po inaayos. And then pumunta po ako sa New Zealand, sira ulit. And I just went to Bangkok to meet the Senate President of Thailand, and it was also broken.

“I had an opportunity to meet in Malacañang, during the visit of the Prime Minister of New Zealand — I was able to huddle with Secretary Deck Go, and I said, “Deck, bakit naman ang mga airport natin ganito?”

“What happens is you have senior citizens walking down the stairs carrying their bags—that’s a bottleneck there in NAIA 3. It’s things like this that drive me crazy. Then I also found out the aircon was busted and it was very hot, and they’re still waiting for the repairs of the aircon.

“That’s why we had to call for this hearing. I mean, public service tayo, dapat may malasakit tayo sa taumbayan. I’m not saying you’re not doing anything about it, but we need to know what you are doing about it, because it seems that it’s not working, whatever system that you have in place.

“It’s been how many months, let me ask — is the elevator still busted or is it running? Sira pa rin? Okay, there you go, that answers my point why we’re having this hearing. We need to know what the problem is, for such simple breakdowns in the airport, hindi natin maayos ilang buwan na. I don’t know where to start.

“Maybe we can start with the premium airport areas, which is Metro Manila, because that is a key problem for the tourism industry. Let’s get a briefing from Usec. Bobby Lim. Usec, you’re in the airline industry, so you know that these airports are a key facility in getting people to and fro, as well as tourism coming into our country. I’m exasperated beyond words on what’s going on.

“Kawawa ang Presidente. Sa dami ng problema ng Presidente, the secretaries and the undersecretaries in the different departments should step up. Wag na nating iparating sa Presidente itong problemang ito. Dapat kapag may nasira, kusang loob na nating aayusin ito.

One thing I want to discuss with you is the awarding of PPPs to these projects, para naman sila na ang umaksyon—kung hindi niyo kaya, kung may problema sa procurement, may problema sa pagrelease ng pondo, for God’s sake, let’s speed up the process and already give it sa private sector PPPs that will run the projects.

“What is the delay on all this? We’re going into the third year of the presidency, and this is unforgivable, and we have to do something about it. We can always blame previous administrations for these delays, but once you step into a new administration, we have to hit the ground running.”

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