Press Release
July 14, 2016

Recto: Flying commercial gives Pres. Digong opportunity to monitor NAIA's improvement

President Duterte's decision to take commercial flights in regularly shuttling between Manila and Davao would allow him to personally check on the improvements done on the the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

This is the observation of Senator Ralph Recto, who said that if the chief executive board flights in the NAIA terminal "then such will serve as presidential inspection tours " on the nation's premier air gateway.

"If he becomes a suki of NAIA then he can see for himself if services are being improved. He will also see firsthand the things which need to be done," Recto said.

"This will have at least 37 million unintended beneficiaries," Recto said, referring to the expected number of passengers who will use NAIA's four terminals this year.

Recto said President Duterte will be able to find out for himself "if X-ray machines are working, if toilets are clean, if queues are short and move fast, if air conditioning works, if baggage carousels are moving, and there are enough taxis for passengers."

"Tapos na rin ang tanim bala," he added.

With him as regular NAIA user, "then perhaps congestion around and above NAIA will now be attended to," Recto said.

"With the right mix of incentives and occasional invectives from Digong, NAIA can transform from world's worst to best," he added.

The senator conceded that "these problems will take time and money to solve but if you have the president experiencing the inconveniences then surely work will be done on a faster pace."

Even if President Duterte will alternately take private planes and commercial jets in going home to Davao City, this will be enough to "audit" NAIA passenger care services, Recto said.

"May panahon naman talaga na kailangan nya mag-private plane. Madaming ginagawa ang Pangulo at kulang sa oras. Pero kahit hindi kadalas ang pagsakay nya ng commercial flights, sapat na 'yun upang masuri ang operasyon ng NAIA," Recto said.

The senator said government has enough money "to keep NAIA's ceilings from falling down or air conditioners from conking out" as they repeatedly did over the past years.

Government, he said, collected P10.4 billion from NAIA passengers and airlines in 2015.

Out of this, government netted P5.44 billion: P 1.22 billion as its 20% share from gross income, P1.27 billion in tax payments, and P2.94 billion in net profit.

About a third of NAIA's gross income came the P550 international terminal fee and the P200 domestic terminal fee paid by passengers.

In addition, NAIA is a "major collection point" of travel taxes.

Bulk of the P3.85 billion travel tax collections in 2014 were paid by passengers who boarded flights in NAIA, Recto said.

Travel tax rates range from P2,700 for a first class passenger to P1,620 for an economy seat to P300 for an OFW dependent

Recto also pointed out that a significant portion of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines' (CAAP) P6.6 billion gross income in 2015 came from NAIA aviation activities.

"Kahit doon sa Aviation Security Fee (ASF) may konting kita ang pamahalaan," Recto said, referring to the P60 fee for international passengers and the P15 fee for domestic passengers.

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