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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
IT took a visit from Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas to perk things up at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (Naia 1). And do some adjustments to make more comfortable the hundreds who throng the airport every day to welcome or see off loved ones.
He talked with Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Jose Angel Honrado and was able to convince him to provide a “misting” equipment so that welcoming groups would be spared from the oppressive head of the noonday sun.
Roxas noticed the predicament of the welcomers after a brief chat with a family from Nueva Ecija that was there to greet a loved one coming from the Middle East.
Elpidio Peralta told the secretary the arrival extension area where hundreds of families greet arriving overseas Filipino workers was oppressively hot.
This prompted Roxas to urge Honrado to install misting equipment in the area to cool down visitors with fine-water spray.
Dante Basanta, Naia 1 manager, promised to install the fine-water sprayer within a month.
Honrado then told Roxas that the ongoing P1.16-billion renovation was proceeding well. He said it would include a walkalator leading from the arrival area, all the way down to the passenger arrival extension area.
Many passengers have complained that the steep slant often made it difficult for passengers, especially those loaded with boxes, to negotiate the slippery slope.
Honrado said the walkalators would be able to accommodate luggage trolleys for arriving passengers.
From the so-called greeters area, Roxas visited some of the toilets and found them clean enough to merit his praise.
He kidded a female attendant, saying she probably knew he was coming and that was why the toilet was spotlessly clean.
But unidentified janitress told him: “Talaga pong malinis ang kubeta dito sa arrival araw-araw”; he seemed to agree.
Roxas then went to view the dismantling of the escalators; they are being removed to provide wider access to arriving passengers.
From there, he went to the immigration area, where he was shown a plan to increase the number of booths from the present 15 to 30, to reduce congestion during peak arrival hours.
“We have to see what is actually going on. It’s difficult if you see it only on paper,” Roxas said during a brief interview following the one-and-a-half-hour visit.
He said that he found the plan to be satisfactory and asked the public to be patient since the renovation was going on, despite the continued operation of the airport.
“You can see it’s a working facility, you don’t just close the area because this is being used every day.”
He added that from what he saw at the ground level where the welcoming groups are located, Honrado has agreed to expand the area not only to accommodate more people, but make their stay comfortable.
“The construction started in January and would not stop until it is finished,” he said. The contractors are working on the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire system of the 30-year-old terminal to make it useful and functional.
He said the idea of the upgrade was to strengthen the pillars and post, stop the leaks and seeping waters, remodel the ceiling and provide clean toilets.
In Photo: Secretary Mar Roxas (third from left) demonstrates the difficulty of handling a trolley loaded with pieces of luggage, while going down the steep incline leading to the arrival extension area. These areas will be provided with walkalators, according to plans. With Roxas are (from left) unidentified Roxas aide, Miaa Manager Honrado, Miaa Engineer Carlos Lozada and Naia 1 Terminal Manager Dante Basanta. --Recto Mercene