Got Nothing Better To Do? Paolo Duterte and other congressmen want NAIA renamed

Travelers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Photo: Department of Transport/FB
Travelers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Photo: Department of Transport/FB

We’re still in the middle of a pandemic and the Philippines has yet to flatten the curve. Nurses in Cebu City are threatening to quit over fears they might get infected, while six places have been identified as emerging COVID-19 hotspots in the country. We’re facing a lot of problems right now, but three congressmen, led by presidential son Paolo Duterte, thought there was something equally important– renaming the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Duterte, along with colleagues Lord Allan Jay Velasco and Eric Yap, yesterday filed House Bill No. 7031, which seeks to change NAIA’s name to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas (“Global Airport of the Philippines”).

According to the bill— which has become the object of ridicule since it circulated last night— it was necessary to rename the NAIA to make it clear to travellers that it is located in the Philippines.


“With the proposed name, the airport will easily be identified as the international doorway of the country, in view of it being in [the] Filipino language and branding it as the international airport of the Philippines,” the proposed law said.

NAIA used to be called Manila International Airport until it was renamed in 1987 to pay homage to Senator Ninoy Aquino, a fierce critic of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who was assassinated at its tarmac. However, most international airlines still refer to NAIA by its former official name.

As expected, the plan was criticized by Filipinos online, such as @corpomosis, who wrote, “If you all are going to rename NAIA, why not change it back to Manila International Airport instead of Pandecoco Pancake of the Philippines? I swear you guys try to make everything sound fancy, first all these Community Quarantines and now this.”

Another person said the country has more important issues to solve. “There are a lot of problems. in the Philippines. Especially, COVID-19 you will rename NAIA instead of facing the problem we are facing. I am telling you Mr. President and other politician, I am sick tired of staying at home for the past 4 months. I miss the outdoors,” @pareciousss wrote.

Sociologist Nicole Curato was a little more sarcastic. “Congress, you have my support. I renamed my house plant today to divert my attention from more immediate tasks. I *totally* get you. Cheers to our misplaced priorities,” she wrote.


Are you in favor of changing the airport’s name? Tell us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.

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