By Reni M. Valenzuela
Who wants the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to remain one of the worst airports in the world? Nobody. But who sells or disowns his child just because the child is problematic? Nobody either – except the loveless and crazy.
The Marcos Jr. administration has just formally kicked off the sale of NAIA to private sector. But for unknown, real/deeper sense and repercussion, what does this mean?
Letting one’s knee touch the canvas during a boxing match up means surrender. Alas, this is exactly what the government tries to do in pushing its knee hard to the floor. Or in doggedly pushing to privatize the “helplessly” beleaguered NAIA. It is the way to “solve” the mess at the country’s premiere airport, so they thought.
But what is the use of government if government can’t compete with the private sector in efficiency or governance, and modernization? What can private people do that public officials can’t, with all the yearly budget (in trillions of pesos) at their disposal? Cryptic.
Hindi ba gobyerno pa nga ang dapat magpakita ng pinakamagaling, pinakamoderno at pinakamagandang halimbawa para sa lahat sa bansa, serving as a standard/benchmark for excellence? If a government can’t set a right example for everyone, then how can its people expect something good to come out from such a government?
There is more than meets the eye to all of these NAIA brouhahas/shenanigans. The issue is more a challenge for our officials to be capable, effective and wise than it is a matter of solving any of the persisting problems at NAIA? That’s the puzzle pieces, assembled and complete.
For what sane reason does the Department of Transportation and Communication (or Malacanang) want to privatize NAIA? Are they admitting that the private sector or business people are better off than them in the area of managing and administering? But if that’s the case, then Filipinos would do well to have these private people take over every single office in the government. Or, could there be something behind the “privatization” move that only those behind it know so well?
Given the ever escalating prices of rice and other agricultural/local products, the needless importations, the unabated smuggling, and the hoarding that causes artificial shortages of rice, sugar, salt, onion, meat products, etc., in the market, would it be bad to suggest that we privatize the Department of Agriculture, following the government’s touted line of thinking in wanting to privatize NAIA? Easy, lazy way out.
Time to break the cycle, this vicious cycle of “privatization,” lest Filipinos would someday find the entire country privatized, “wisely.” Easy, lazy way out.
I had a wonderful experience of government efficiency just yesterday (August 30, 2023) when I went to the central office of Philippine Statistics Authority on East Avenue to get an authenticated birth certificate. I thought I wouldn’t be able to do my purpose anymore because I came very late due to rains and heavy traffic.
But I got the surprise of my life, having found the PSA staffs (including the guards) very accommodating and friendly, quick to respond. The processing of papers was highly systematic, cogent, instantaneous and ingenious. The counters and machines, and the whole big, wide people area were well arranged and ventilated. Admirable. I arrived at 4:30 pm and I left at 4:50 pm, with my authenticated birth certificate. Wonderful. No delays, hassles and inconvenience. And no exaggeration.
For the first time, I felt like I was in heaven – inside a government office, unbelievably. True to its motto, the PSA is “Solid. Responsive. World-class.” You can do it (Philippians 4:13) at NAIA and elsewhere, dear government. But do away with it (privatization).