Bokya si Bautista! Marcos clarifies: NAIA ain’t up for privatization

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the government will not privatize the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, contrary to statements by Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.

“There’s no plan to privatize anything,” Marcos Jr. said in a roundtable interview with veteran TV journalists in Malacañang Monday (January 23).

“When Secretary Jimmy Bautista was talking about that… maybe he misspoke or he was misinterpreted. But you cannot privatize an airport to begin with. A private firm cannot own the airport,” the President added.

Talks to reportedly leave NAIA to the highest bidder surfaced days after the New Year’s day air traffic system glitch that left over 50,000 passengers stranded. Bautista said the Department of Transportation is working to “fast track” the privatization of the country’s main gateway.

Marcos, for his part, said aviation officials have since been in talks with the operators of Gatwick Airport if they “can they come in and help us.”

“They were here last week to look at the operations of the airport and especially since we had that problem on New Year’s day and this recent outage,” the President said. “So at most, we will have a management contract. Come in and manage the airport.”

A super consortium composed of the biggest local conglomerates Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.; AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; JG Summit Holdings, Inc., and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. made several pitches to revamp and run NAIA under the Duterte administration to no avail. Megawide GMR ade a similar unsuccessful attempt.

“There are several groups but they can be had from the private sector group who have huge experience in running ports and running airports,” Marcos added.

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