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.
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 Terminal 2
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.