MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino has promised to fix the structural defects of the controversial Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 by 2013.
“I am the 4th president to deal with the problems of NAIA Terminal 3. Airplanes are not all that take off and land here; so did problems and anomalies,” he said in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 23.
“Secretary Mar Roxas has already said: Before we convene at the next Sona, the structural defects we inherited in NAIA-3 will have been fully repaired.”
The move will pave the way for the full operations of the airport terminal, helping decongest the main NAIA terminal in Manila.
Roxas signed early this year a memorandum of agreement with Japan’s Takenaka Corp for the completion of construction works at NAIA-3.
Takenaka is a subcontractor of Philippine International Air Terminals Co (Piatco), the consortium awarded the contract to build the terminal in 1997, during the Estrada administration.
In 2002, Piatco’s contract was cancelled by the Arroyo administration due to alleged irregularities. Piatco and the government have been in a legal battle since.
In 2003, the Supreme Court voided Piatco’s contract, prompting the government to take over the facility a year later. Piatco brought its case before the international courts.
NAIA-3 was supposed to have become operational in 2002, but was mothballed for 6 years due to the dispute.
It opened in 2008, but only partially.
Aquino believes solving legal and structural concerns over NAIA-3, and operating it at full capacity will boost investor confidence in the country.
Aquino, meanwhile, vowed to finish before the end of his term new airports in Bohol, Bicol and Misamis Oriental, and the upgrading of international airports in Mactan, Cebu, Tacloban and Puerto Princesa. He said the government will also remodel airports in Butuan, Cotabato, Dipolog, Pagadian, Tawi-Tawi, Southern Leyte, and San Vicente in Palawan.
He said the improvement of the airports and other key infrastructure projects such as roads will help grow the tourism industry, which targets to attract 10 million tourists by 2016.
“Take note. Despite the length of their time in office, the previous administration only managed to add a mere 1.3 million tourist arrivals—and we contributed half a year to that number. Under our administration, we welcomed 2.1 million tourist arrivals by June 2012,” he said.
He said it has been less than a year since the country launched its new tourism campaign, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” but “we are already reaping the fruits of the reforms we have laid down.” – Rappler.com
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