A revived, three-year-old Facebook (FB) post is claiming that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was a project of former president Ferdinand Marcos. This is wrong.

The misleading July 16, 2018 post, which praised the late dictator and criticized his successor Corazon Aquino, carried this statement: “At alam ba ninyo na ang NINOY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AY PROYEKTO YAN NI DATING PANGULONG MARCOS AT DATI NAKAPANGALAN sa MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (And did you know that the Ninoy International Airport was a project of former president Marcos and was once named Manila International Airport).”

The international airport already existed long before Marcos took office. Under his term, Terminal 1 was constructed but the development of more terminals continued across several administrations after Marcos’ ouster in 1986.

Post-war era

In a 1948 speech, former president Manuel Roxas mentioned the creation of the Manila International Airport (MIA) by executive order. The structure was located at a former United States military base called Nichols Field.

Its international runway and associated taxiway were built in 1953, while a control tower and a terminal building for international passengers finished construction in 1961, four years before Marcos took office.

Marcos era

After a fire in 1972, Marcos signed Executive Order No. 381 creating a committee charged with rehabilitating and improving the MIA. An airport building now called Terminal 1 was completed in 1981, while the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) was created in 1982.

Post-Marcos era

Republic Act 6639 officially renamed the MIA to NAIA in 1987, four years after opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was assassinated at the MIA. (Read: Why is it named the Ninoy Aquino International Airport?)

To address airline capacity issues, the MIAA decided to construct new terminal facilities following the recommendation of a master plan review by Aeroports de Paris in 1989.

Terminal 2, which began construction in December 1995 and started operations in 1999, now houses domestic and international flights of the Philippine Airlines.

Meanwhile, Terminal 3’s construction began in 1997 and was inaugurated for full-time airline operations in 2014 after undergoing several legal battles and corruption scandals. A number of international and domestic airlines operate at this terminal.

Terminal 4, also known as Manila Domestic Passenger Terminal, is the oldest of the four terminals in the airport system.

The netizen’s misleading FB post got 88,000 reactions, 18,000 comments, and 204,000 shares, and gained renewed traction around the time Marcos’ son, Bongbong, filed his certificate of candidacy for president on Oct. 6.

Multiple pro-Marcos FB pages also re-uploaded the inaccurate post from Oct. 3 to 11, collectively garnering nearly 9,500 interactions. These include Team Marcos – The Universal Movement which was created in February 2017, BBM-Pilipinas in January 2015, Marcos defender 2022 on Sept. 11.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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