By Deedee M. Siytangco
‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love.’
Luke 15:9, a reminder for this season of love and hope.
Budget hunters should try the Merry Seasons store at the ground floor of the new Plaza Fair at the corner of Pasong Tamo. New stocks are going “buy one, take one” store-wide from today to Dec. 16.
Danny Velasco also announced a conference for traders and suppliers on Dec. 14 to 26 from 12 a.m. to 3 p.m. at ground floor.
More bargains from our favorite LRI Mall on Nicanor Garcia St. in Makati. Until Dec. 17, the LRI Holiday Furniture & Furnishing sale will delight homeowners and office designers with beautiful pieces at 50 percent off! LRI has over 40 showrooms of furniture, accessories, furnishing, art works, and more.
If the bureaucracy cooperates and some politicos can resist sticking their sticky fingers in our aviation sector, we shall see more improvements in our Terminals 1 to 4 at the NAIA and the airports around the country.
So promised the “fly boys squad” of the Manila International Airport authority and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to the Bulong Pulungan media forum at the Sofitel. Our guests were the general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, Ed Monreal and the deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Capt. Antonio “Skee” Tamayo. It also helps that they have DOTr secretary Art Tugade, a no-nonsense boss who is an enviable focused, informed, and honest action man.
There are many improvements being implemented at the present, Monreal, who was a former general manager of the Cathay Pacific and has spent, decades in the aviation industry, stressed. To be fair, some are because of the gains of the past administration, which they are building and expanding on.
Ed confessed that as a former aviation stakeholder with Hong Kong based CX, and upon his retirement two years ago, a private passenger, he had lots to gripe about the terminals, too. Now he understands fully what it is like to be in the government where he has to contend with the bureaucracy’s and the COA quirks.
The common concerns are being addressed such as the air conditioning, the cleanliness of the restrooms, more seats for waiting passengers, safety of the two runways (with plans for another soon) the strict implementation of flight schedules, etc. The status upgrade of the airport to “Category 1” will be maintained and the new management will also aim for a higher upgrade from international agencies.
Tamayo, nicknamed “Skee” is a low-key professional worked with the Presidential Security Group in the term of President Cory Aquino as a pilot. He also flew the presidential plane when he went work at Philippine Airlines for Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and PNoy. He has also piloted for President Duterte, but a most memorable passenger was Pope Francis to Tacloban, during a typhoon at that! He made the decision to fly back earlier than scheduled and the Pope followed his pilot. From this flight, Skee received rosaries from the grateful Pope.
A private jet with Aquino’s executive secretary Jojo Ochoa and press secretary Sonny Coloma was not as blessed as it missed the runway and crashed into the trees. Luckily no one was seriously hurt.
The challenges of the jobs of Ed and Skee have not dampened their enthusiasm and both delight in reports from satisfied passengers about the country’s airports improvements. They are also upgrading their tracking satellite to be able to monitor airplanes using the country’s skies and thus collect more “toll.”
Welcomers and passengers will soon be able to cross by foot to the Resorts World Manila complex across the busy airport roads with the completion of the footbridge started in the past administration, which is now almost finished.
With the rush of balikbayans coming home, tourists and businessmen coming and going, the airport team is making sure their experience is pleasant and safe. They are coordinating with the different agencies in the terminal for smooth immigration and customs flow, and security measures, while tightened, will, with hope, not encroach on the homecoming and departure joys.
So there you are folks… good news from the airport “flying squad.”