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NAIA’s new electrical system won’t necessarily cost P1 billion —Recto

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)’s request for a new electrical system is an urgent matter, but the amount won’t necessarily reach P1 billion, House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto of Batangas said Wednesday.

Recto issued the statement after power outage hit the country’s main airport again on Labor Day, delaying hundreds of flights in the process. 

Such outage happened just four months after NAIA’s Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM)  malfunctioned on New Year’s Day, an incident that caused at least 282 flights to be delayed, canceled or diverted. 

”Even if this light bulb moment had come too late, after the airport had been hit with electrical crashes, it should be treated as an urgent request. Every time NAIA is hit with a blackout, the nation gets a blackeye. So if the promised power system audit would validate that request, then government should buy it, but not necessarily in the amount floated,” Recto said in a statement.

“Panic buying is the number one procurement sin,” he added.

Recto then cited that NAIA is not cash-strapped since it is a corporate profit center for the government with gross revenues of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which runs NAIA, reaching P15.2 billion in 2019.

“From this amount, it remits P1.8 billion to the Treasury as national government’s share of profits, on top of P2.2 billion na tax payments. Despite these, its net income is still at P5 billion, because MIAA also generates revenues outside airport operations,” he said.

Recto said the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA’s) travel tax collection alone reached P7.2 billion in 2019.

Further, the senator said having additional immigration counters should not be a problem for the Bureau of Immigration, which reported a gross income of P10.5 billion in 2019  and net income of P10.5 billion turned over to the Treasury.

“In finding the culprit, poverty should be the last suspect,” Recto pointed out.

Even the Office for Transportation Security, generated P1.1 billion billion in a year out of the Airport Security Fee included in the airline ticket, he added.

“DOTr said NAIA should have an electrical system audit. If that is the case, why not do a complete checkup to address the problem? Whatever work [that has] to be done should be submitted as one package, so the remedies will not be several Band Aid of cures, but a wellness package,” Recto said.

“MIAA is a corporation, so they don’t need Congress to authorize such [additional] appropriation,” he added. —KG, GMA Integrated News