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Zubiri prefers renaming NAIA back to Manila International Airport

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday said he prefers to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Manila International Airport as renaming it to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport would only spark the quarrel between the "yellows" and "reds."

"Ako mas pabor pa na gawin nating Manila International Airport," Zubiri said when asked to comment on a House bill which seeks to rename the country's major airport to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport.

"Ibalik na lang natin sa original name if no one will agree on a particular family name kasi siyempre, yellow against red na naman yan, eh di neutral na lang tayo," he added.

(Let's just bring it back to its original name in no one will agree on a particular family name because it's yellow against red again, so we'll go neutral instead.)

Since the Senate is a collegial body, Zubiri, who is expected to be the next Senate president, said he will leave it to the discretion of his colleagues.

In filing House Bill 610, Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. said it is more appropriate to name NAIA to Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., the father of newly-installed President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

The Negros Oriental solon said Marcos Sr. has "contributed to the idea and execution of the said noble project.”

In 1987, the Manila International Airport (MIA) was renamed to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) through Republic Act No. 6639 during the term of the late President Cory Aquino.

It was named after late senator and opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. who was assassinated in the airport when he returned to the country on August 21, 1983. Aquino was the staunchest critic of the elder Marcos.

According to the Manila International Airport Authority website, the country's premiere airport was originally a US Air Force base until 1948, when it was turned over to the Philippine government's National Airport Corporation. The fledgling civil aviation airport's facilities were nothing more than the current domestic runway and a small building as its only passenger terminal.

It added that the first 13 years of the airport were marked by the building of infrastructure dedicated to international flights.

The international runway and associated taxiway were built in 1953, and 1961 saw the completion of a control tower and a terminal building for the exclusive use of international passengers at the southwest intersection of the runways. This system came to be officially known as the Manila International Airport.

In 1972, Marcos Sr. promulgated Executive Order No. 381, authorizing the development of Manila International Airport (MIA) to meet the needs of the coming decades, MIAA said. — RSJ, GMA News