MIAA general manager replies to letter calling for improvement of PH airports, says "We have not been sleeping"

Jose Angel A. Honrado, general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), has replied to a letter calling officials’ attention to the country’s "cumbersome, inefficient and opportunistic traveling systems."

Dated January 25, the letter by lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr. and writer Anna Oposa was also posted online, for instance, on the notes page of Facebook group "Movement to improve Philippine airports." The father and daughter duo wrote to Honrado, "We respectfully invite your attention to the tedious process of checking in and of departing from all our airports-the first and last stop of all local and international travelers."

They criticized the "exorbitant" terminal fee and the several "checkpoints" of local airports, which they said could be reduced to three stages. "Check-in, X-ray, and body check prior to entering the pre-departure area and then at the final boarding. This is the standard used by most airports."

In response, Honrado wrote, "We are guided by international protocol and subjected to regular security audits by international organizations... Each airport will have their particular security arrangements but at the end of the day, we at the airport management would rather face the people for those long security check lines than risk a breach of security leading to a disaster."

The Oposas also mentioned the "small and badly maintained" airport restrooms. Honrado admitted that they are "small and in (a) sad state" but said officials "have not been sleeping." He wrote, "Over the last few months, we have repaired four sets of restrooms at the arrival area (of Terminal 1) in time for the Christmas arrivals. We are now doing the restrooms at the departure area at one set every 25 days."

Honrado added, "We are trying to undo years of neglect; all I ask is give us more time. It cannot be done overnight, though truly there is no excuse for dirty and non-operational ones."

In their letter, the Oposas noted that "none of the three airports in Manila (have) free and consistent wireless Internet access." Honrado said officials are working on installing Wi-Fi at terminals. They hope to sign a contract with Globe in two to three weeks, he said.

Honrado added that the Inspection Verifier Booths at Terminal 3-which the Oposas listed as one of the "tedious" stages in airports-"will have to go." He said, "I have seen the pros and cons and, definitely, it is a procedure we can risk removing."

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