Call to rename NAIA ill-timed, Robredo says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 26) – Vice President Leni Robredo thinks now is an insensitive time to tackle calls to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

House Bill No. 7031, filed this week by Representatives Lord Allan Velasco, and Eric Go Yap, and Paolo Duterte – the President's son – seeks to change the name of NAIA to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas.

"Nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya, ito pa talaga ang maiisip natin? [We are in the middle of the pandemic and this is what we think of?]," Robredo told CNN Philippines' The Source, dubbing the proposal "ill-timed."

Robredo even laughed at the emerging nickname of the proposed name change: "PaPa P," which alluded to actor Piolo Pascual.

NAIA is named after the late senator and opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr., the husband of former President Cory Aquino and father of ex-President Noynoy Aquino, who was shot at the tarmac of Metro Manila's biggest gateway in 1983, during the term of then strongman Ferdinand Marcos. Prior to this, the facility was called the Manila International Airport.

"Where is our sense of history?," the Vice President added, pointing out that she was really appalled with the timing of the measure.

COVID-19 infections in the country have reached 33,069 as of Thursday afternoon, with 8,910 recoveries and 1,212 deaths.

"Ngayon pa talaga kung kailan dapat all hands on deck tayo na nagtutulong-tulong para masugpo 'yung pandemya, ngayon pa 'yan iisipin? [Are we really going to discuss that now when we should have all hands on deck to address the pandemic?]," she said.

Congress went on a break since the first week of June, leaving in limbo until end-July key legislation like stimulus bills meant to revive the local economy after the lockdown slump as well as measures to boost jobs and extend the special powers given to the President to combat the public health crisis.