Addressing the country's aviation problems should be included in the emergency-powers measure being considered to enable the Duterte administration to effectively deal with the traffic crisis in Metro Manila.
Quezon City Rep. Winston "Winnie " Castelo made the suggestion yesterday as he stressed the need for an "integrated and holistic approach to the traffic problem."
"Metro Manila's traffic woes are just a manifestation of the decades of government's neglect of the country's transport infrastructure requirements," said Castelo, pointing out that the failure of past administrations to construct regional airports and expand the Ninoy Aquino International Airport have cause air-traffic congestion that also extends to road traffic congestion.
"We need a complete and comprehensive transportation plan that covers land, air, and water," Castelo said. The chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development said aviation must be included in the emergency-powers bill because air traffic-congestion causes delays in take off and landing that bear huge economic losses and international embarrassment, said .
"Also, NAIA has on always been listed among the worst airports in the world, which not only embarrasses Filipinos but more importantly discourages tourists and investors from coming to the country," he added.
NAIA topped the list of worst airports from 2011 to 2013 before sliding down to fourth spot in 2014. Last year, NAIA was the eighth worst Airport in Asia. Castelo noted that the improvement and expansion of the NAIA tarmac and apron were delayed in the past administration.
"We need to speed this up to improve not only air traffic but also aviation safety," he pointed out. On the other hand, regional airports can boost dispersal of economic activity to the provinces and help decongest Metro Manila, he added, lamenting, however, that their construction had been delayed if not totally shelved during the past administration.
Castelo had earlier called on the Department of Transportation to also have a plan to optimize the use of international ports in Subic and Batangas to reduce the volume of cargo in Manila's ports and thus also reduce the trucks that ply Metro Manila's roads.