Compared to other government agencies and I can say even departments, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) well exceeded what is expected of it to achieve within the first 100 days in office of the Duterte administration.
For starters, the so-called ‘tanim-bala’ or ‘bullet-planting’ scheme that became prevalent at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals and which caused a blackeye in terms of the Philippine main gateway’s reputation before the international community, had been totally eliminated, on orders of MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal, in pursuance to a directive issued by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
It is widely believed that from the eighth worst airport in Asia rank last year based on an assessment by a travel website, the NAIA rose to fifth place because of this issue, where travelers were victimized by colluding airport authorities who sneak a bullet or two into the passengers’ luggage. Money will then be demanded from the hapless passengers to have them extricated from the situation of having to be offloaded or face prosecution or fines.
Another major achievement under Monreal’s rein is having been able to address what formerly seemed to be a perennial problem -- air traffic congestion, which has been causing flight delays and had become the bane of those travelling to and from the country.
Cleaner, better-smellling toilets are also a marked improvement after airline companies were made to ‘adopt’ the comfort rooms in the said airport terminals where they operate. There are also no more reports of power outages, leaking ceilings and collapsing floors in either of the NAIA terminals. Significantly, also gone are the days when those sending off their loved ones would have to bear the scorching heat of the sun or get soaked under the rains, along with the departing passengers.
Two lounges were recently put up in both sides of the departure area.
One is for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), which comes complete with some sort of a one-stop-shop where counters may process certain requirements for departing OFWs. On the other end is the lounge for ordinary passengers.
Both lounges have over a hundred new seats --gangchairs -- and offer the convenience of clean toilets, a place to eat and even free wi-fi, speaking of which, there are now more options which are all a lot faster now than before.
Kilometric lines of passengers queueing for a taxi ride are also a thing of the past, after Monreal allowed regular, white taxis to come in, along with a smartphone taxi booking and dispatching service, on top of the already existing services provided by airport-accredited coupon taxis and the yellow-metered cabs.
Also amply addressed is the ugly sight of most passengers slumped on the floor with the installation of additional seats for the convenience of those waiting for their flights at the departure area. More signages were also put up to guide first-timers or those who simply get lost when it comes to procedures.
Meanwhile, the problems, if any, of passengers concerning the immigration and customs, on the other hand, are not within the ambit of Monreal’s real powers. Since these agencies and several others operate inside the airports, Monreal exerted efforts to establish a good relationship with such outside agencies to ensure that passengers would have a smooth journey every step of the way.
When asked about his achievements so far, Monreal was modest enough to acknowledge that all the positive changes he introduced at the premier airport terminals was a result of joint efforts.
So far, so good.
All we can do right now is wish him more stamina and luck to handle the gargantuan task he is faced with. Let us not forget that before Monreal assumed office, the NAIA was ranked world’s worst airport in 2011 and again in 2013. It was also named ‘worst’ in Asia in 2012. It was also the fourth worst airport in 2014.
Beauty tip -- Prevent irritation by keeping those well-moisturized hands away from the eye area. (Source: Dr. Rosary May Canay-Diaz of Californian Bloom Aesthetic Institute and Medical Spa/4108424/4669596/09178038240/ 025053987)
Jokjok (from Jennellyn Ynares of Fairview, Quezon City) -- Sa gitna ng kagubatan, may isang restaurant na paboritong kinakainan ng mga cannibal. Pedro: Waiter! Ano ba ang mga specialty sa menu ninyo?/Waiter: Pritong pari, P50. Inihaw na guro, P100. Adobong pulis, P200, at nilagang politiko, P1,000/Pedro: Teka, bakit napakamahal naman ’ata ng nilagang pulitiko? ’Yan ba pinakamasarap?/Waiter: Naku sir, hindi po. Kaya lang, sa sobrang kapal ba naman ng balat at mukha niyan, napakatagal po palambutin. Nauubos ang gas namin, sir.