Former Sen. Franklin Drilon on Wednesday hit the proposal to rename Ninoy Aquino International Airport after former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., saying it would not sit well with the call for unity of the current administration.
Drilon, who served as Senate Minority Leader in the previous Congress, said the bill introduced by Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. was "divisive, reeks of politics, and ill-timed."
“There is no compelling reason to change the name of NAIA. Any proposal to rename NAIA will always be seen as political and divisive.... It will not augur well with the call for unity of the Marcos administration,” Drilon said in a statement.
“Leave NAIA alone,” said Drilon, a longtime justice secretary to Ninoy's widow, former President Corazon Aquino.
The former Manila International Airport was renamed NAIA after the 1986 People Power uprising ousted the Marcos dictatorship. It was on the tarmac of the airport that opposition senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. was assassinated in 1983.
Teves said it was more appropriate to rename it after the person who "contributed to the idea and execution of the said noble project," saying that this was done during the elder Marcos' administration.
Drilon said the incoming 19th Congress has more urgent matters to deal with than renaming an airport, such as addressing the rising inflation, surging fuel prices, strengthening the healthcare system, and uplifting the country's education system.
"This should be the main priority of this administration and the 19th Congress along with reviving the economy and addressing inflation, not renaming NAIA,” he added.