In a statement to the media on July 5, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. said he filed on June 30 a bill proposing to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. International Airport.
He justified the proposal by claiming that the airport was “done” under the administration of the late dictator.
This is misleading.
Interviewed on One News PH’s Sa Totoo Lang on June 6, Teves retracted his statement and said instead that Marcos Sr. improved the airport:
“Let’s give credit where credit is due. Totoo naman na ang nagpaganda niyan… pinaganda ‘yan noong panahon ni ano. Nagkamali ako nang sinabi ko na sila ang nagpagawa. Pagawa, still the same. Pag nagpaganda niyan, naging ganyan ‘yan sa panahon nila president Ferdinand Marcos [Sr].”
(Let’s give credit where credit is due. It’s true that it was improved during the time of [Ferdinand Marcos Sr]. I was wrong to say that they constructed it. Improve, still the same. If it’s improved, it became like that during the time of president Ferdinand Marcos [Sr].)
Source: One News PH official Youtube channel, Teves defends bill to rename NAIA to Ferdinand E. Marcos Int’l Airport, July 6, 2022, watch from 0:15 to 0:32
In an interview on ABS CBN News Channel hours earlier, Teves defended his bill by falsely claiming that Marcos Sr. built NAIA. He said:
“Ang sa akin, si Marcos naman talaga ang gumawa niyan, eh. Bakit siya ipapangalan sa isang tao na binaril doon sa airport? Kung may iba pang binaril doon sa airport, papalitan na naman natin ang pangalan, ‘di ba?”
(I mean it was really Marcos who built it. Why name it after someone who was shot at the airport? If someone else would be shot at the airport, should we change its name again?)
Source: ABS CBN official website, ‘Wala nang bisa ‘yung EDSA’: Teves defends proposal to rename NAIA after Marcos Sr., July 6, 2022, watch from 0:21 to 0:35
In the explanatory note for House Bill 610, Teves wrote:
“It is more appropriate to rename it to the person who has contributed to the idea and execution of the said noble project. This project was done during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.”
Source: ABS CBN News official Twitter, Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. files bill seeking to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport | via @VivienneGulla, July 5, 2022
Based on the state of the nation address of then-president Manuel Roxas in January 1948, the Manila International Airport (MIA) already existed. That was 17 years before Marcos became president in 1965.
Roxas said he created the MIA through an executive order “because of this ever-increasing international air traffic.”
The airport was originally a US Air Force base until the facility was turned over to the Philippine government’s National Airport Corporation in 1948, according to the website of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).
In the succeeding 15 years, additional improvements that would meet the standards of international flights were done to the airport facilities, such as the completion of an international runway and taxiway in 1953 and the control tower and terminal building in 1963, two years before Marcos Sr. became president.
After a fire broke out in 1972, Marcos Sr. created a committee to rehabilitate the MIA through Executive Order No. 381.
Terminal 1, where the airport’s namesake, the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was assassinated, was opened during Marcos’ term in 1981.
Terminals 2 and 3 were projects of succeeding administrations. The construction of Terminal 2 started in 1995 and began operating in 1999, 13 years after Marcos Sr. fled the Philippines in 1986. Terminal 3, of which construction started in 1997, was inaugurated for full operation in 2014.
Terminal 4, now catering to domestic passengers, is the NAIA’s oldest terminal.
The MIA was renamed to NAIA in 1987, four years after Aquino was assassinated on the airport tarmac upon his return from exile in the United States. (Read: Why is it named the Ninoy Aquino International Airport?)
VERA Files Fact Check has also debunked similar claims that circulated online in 2021. (Read: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NAIA is NOT a Marcos project)
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ABS CBN News official Twitter, Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. files bill seeking to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport | via @VivienneGulla, July 5, 2022
CNN Philippines official Twitter, READ: Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. files House Bill 610 renaming the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport. | @xianneangel, July 5, 2022
Inquirer.net official Twitter, READ: Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. files a bill to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport into “Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport.” | @jiandradeINQ/PDI, July 5, 2022
ABS CBN official website, ‘Wala nang bisa ‘yung EDSA’: Teves defends proposal to rename NAIA after Marcos Sr., July 6, 2022
One News PH official Youtube channel, Teves defends bill to rename NAIA to Ferdinand E. Marcos Int’l Airport, July 6, 2022
Official Gazette, Manuel Roxas, Third State of the Nation Address, January 26, 1948, Jan. 26, 1948
Manila International Airport Authority, History of MIAA, accessed on July 6, 2022
Official Gazette, Executive Order No. 381, s. 1972, March 3, 1972
Manila International Airport Authority, ABOUT NAIA TERMINAL 1, accessed on July 6, 2022
Manila International Airport Authority, ABOUT TERMINAL 2, accessed on July 6, 2022
Manila International Airport Authority, ABOUT TERMINAL 3, accessed on July 6, 2022
Official Gazette, 17 years in the making: Full airline operations at NAIA T3, July 24, 2014
Manila International Airport Authority, About NAIA Terminal 4, accessed on July 7, 2022
Official Gazette, Republic Act 6639, November 27, 1987
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)