An online article reacting on reports that Philippines has the worst airports in the world caught my attention yesterday.  Not so much because the news comes as a surprise to me (it does not since I have read about it a couple of times already) but because of the rather disturbing issue associated with it.
I am admittedly not a seasoned traveler but  I’ve been to some of our airports a couple of times to honestly say that they aren’t as bad as others claim them to be.  Most of them are  well kept and clean though we can’t really discount the fact that some if not most of them badly need a major make over too.

Busuanga Airport

 (Busuanga Airport)

I remember when we landed at Cebu International airport, the first thing that came to my mind was, it doesn’t look like an international airport at all, it looks rather beaten and old.  And when my group was at Busuanga airport following our trip to Coron, Palawan, I was rather shock to discover that they don’t have an xray machine, the airport personnels literally check each and every luggage themselves.
The few occasions I got to travel overseas,  I also can’t help but compare NAIA terminal 1, 2, and 3. In my personal opinion, NAIA 2 and 3 can hold their own against other international airports in Asia in terms of upkeep, façade and facilities but can’t say the same thing with NAIA 1.  It needs more than a facelift, it badly needs a total renovation especially since it is the official landing strip of almost if not all international inbound flights . It can do with a newly improved look.

NAIA 2 (I liked that's its relatively small, no chance of getting lost and missing the flight)

NAIA Terminal  2

NAIA 3 (The wide space tends to make that trip to the boarding gates rather tiring)

NAIA Terminal 3

With the big influx of tourists and travellers coming in and out of the country everyday, you would think that MIAA would have by now accumulated enough funds to start or continue their upgrade and upkeep projects, but sad to say that’s not the case at all. Everyday it is loosing money due to mismanagement of funds, income, and revenues.  The news on Philstar.com about the Digichive Philippine’s  aiport advertising contract  issue with MIAA is a prime example. According to the article, MIAA has not been getting its fair share of advertising revenue from  Digichive, the ad agency that has been managing the ad spaces in our airports.  It was reported that Digichive pays only about 13.5 million advertising revenue to MIAA when the revenue that it should be receiving is supposed to be much more than that. When Mr. Honrado took over the management and decided to rebid the exclusive advertising concession rights, Digichive scrambled to offer a much higher revenue commitment than what it has previously been giving. And when Digichive didn’t win, it requested a temporary restraining order on the awarding of the project to the highest bidder. I don’t know, this act definitely looks shady. The fact that Digichive Philippines gave a meager advertising revenue to MIAA than what it rightfully deserve all these years does cast a shadow of doubt to its integrity and intention.  My two cents, we should know better by this time based on how the events are playing out.
My hat goes off to MIAA’s general manager, Jose Angel Honrado’s wise move though. I agree with Mr. Honrado’s decision of putting the exclusive advertising concession rights up for bidding, this gives equal footing to all interested parties. I personally believe that every contract that a government agency enters into has to be transparent and has to go through proper bidding process.
Hopefully, when MIAA manages to bring some order to its revenue collections, it will prioritize the upgrading of all the security and navigational equipments of our airports, improvement of  all their facilities, expansion of those with limited space, and completion of pending airport projects & addition of more airports in key provinces.

14 comments on “On The State of Our Airports and The Digichive Issue”

  1. I think it is a requirement for all government contracts should go to the bidding process. I think they should investigate how the past contract was awarded and take steps from there.

  2. Hi Blanca,
    This report is so sad and alarming. While some sectors of the government are working so hard to promote every place of our country abroad, the airports which give first impression to the whole place are not well-kept. I hope this will be taken cared of the soonest time possible.

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  4. Well I have been around the world and can safely say that the airports in Philippines aren’t the worst. I have seen much worse in countries like Uganda and Zaire.

  5. I have read related articles about the airports here in the Philippines too, read them, learned them from the news, heard from friends whose had experiences in them. The down side is we can’t discount it as a least priority that the government has to focus on, because airports are primary modes of entrance by the tourists who visit our country. Hope the government pays close attention to this problem and not just focus solely on corruption and funding the welfare of high-profiled criminals.

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