Will the son of former Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade sweep controversies involving the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) in the last six years under the rug now that’s he’s the head?

Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc identified 15 major corruption issues at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from 2016 to 2022 that newly appointed MIAA General Manager Jose Arturo Tugade needs to face.

The problems, Bondoc said, happened under the older Tugade’s stint as head as the Department of Transportation, to which MIAA is an attached agency.

Among the messes at MIAA that Bondoc mentioned were the alleged multimillion pesos of overpriced deals, substandard materials, and sweetheart deals in the international gateway that all happened under Tugade’s watch.

Bondoc flagged in particular the reportedly overpriced P700 million deal to replace baggage conveyor belts at Terminal 1 which only needed repairs, a P600-million facelift of Terminal 2, the hiring of service firms and airport taxi fleet owned by NAIA managers, and the grant of franchises and concessions to their relatives and associates, to name a few.

He also cited the anomalous award of a 25-year rehabilitation contract to a firm worth P18 billion, merely one-third of MIAA’s P47-billion assets, thus violating the Build-Operate-Transfer Law. “Had it not been exposed by then-Rep. Jericho Nograles, the firm would have collected and increased terminal and other fees, and replaced 14,000 regular and contractual workers,” Bondoc added.

The columnist said Cesar Chiong, former head airline operations at PAL Express, only had a hundred days in MIAA when he was replaced by the younger Tugade.

“Chiong is a retired airline exec. He was just mid-way into familiarizing himself with various international airport concerns: passenger comfort, flight scheduling and promptness, operations, finances, security, overseeing 54 outside agencies’ MIA detachments like Customs-Immigration-Quarantine, and more,” Bondoc wrote in his piece.

“Tugade will go through the same learning curve. The lawyer has no aviation experience. Paternal coaching may help only a bit since the elder merely chaired the MIA board but did not run the facility,” he added.


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