Palace says Aquino satisfied over ongoing NAIA upgrade

November 11, 2011 10:34 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 11 — President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed satisfaction over the ongoing refurbishment and upgrading works for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in a bid to support the country's tourism industry in the short term, a Malacanang official said on Friday.

The Chief Executive went to the NAIA Terminal 1 Thursday afternoon unannounced and checked the airport facility, according to Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda during a regular press briefing in the Palace on Friday.

President Aquino and Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II strolled down the airport’s lobby to the customs and immigration areas, and even inspected the comfort rooms of the terminal. They were briefed by terminal managers on the work currently being done to improve the airport.

"The President was satisfied. Secretary Mar Roxas will be conducting another briefing next week on Terminal 1 and to discuss, for instance, how much it would take to renovate everything," Lacierda said.

Concerned government agencies are now fast-tracking the improvement of the country's airport terminals amid negative observations made by the international community on the inferior condition of the airport.

Interviewed over Youtube’s World View Interview Series on Friday, President Aquino acknowledged the need to improve the NAIA, saying the 30-year-old structure has already reached its saturation point.

It was reported earlier that the administration plans to relocate NAIA from Pasay City to the Clark Freeport in Pampanga.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is considering phasing out and selling NAIA in order to pay for the cost of the proposed Clark International Airport that will meet the long-term airport needs of the country, and boost the country’s tourism industry.

However, Secretary Roxas said the plan depends on the success of the NorthRail project and the privatization of the existing NAIA property. <P>At the same time, the government hopes to raise around US$ 2.5 billion with the privatization of the 440-hectare NAIA property to fund NAIA’s relocation to Clark. (PNA)

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