Heads must roll over New Year’s Day fiasco: Zubiri

By Leonel Abasola

January 11, 2023, 8:13 pm

<p>Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri <em>(PNA photo by Yancy Lim) </em></p>

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (PNA photo by Yancy Lim) 

MANILA – Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday said heads must roll, noting that what transpired during the New Year’s glitch at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is unforgivable and a national embarrassment as he also pushed for more Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) for effective transportation.

Speaking before the Kapihan sa Manila Bay, Zubiri said he wanted to hear the facts on Thursday (Jan. 12) and hear their explanation at the start of the Senate Committee on Public Services hearing on the NAIA incident.

“I cannot make a categorical statement at this point in time. But definitely, heads should roll. May kapalpakan na ganito kalaki tapos ganoon uli, parang wala lang, deadma lang (There is a remiss this big, then just like that, seems nothing happened)," he said.

More than 360 flights in and out of Manila were cancelled, diverted or delayed due to the incident.

Zubiri said perhaps the investigation will start from the lower level, citing reports that some personnel used 280 watts from 350 watts when power outage occurred.

Kung totoo ‘yon, ang bobo naman nun. Hindi niya nakita na ganito pala ‘yung sistemang ito at sinasaksak mo dito. Kaya titingnan natin ‘yon. We have to find out ano ba talagang nangyari (If the report is true, that’s stupidity, The person didn’t bother to see the system, we will look into it, what really happened)," he said.

Zubiri said he wants to find out whether the fiasco was caused by mere incompetence or sabotage, adding that as far as he knows, the incident of system failure happened only thrice in the world, adding it is good to know that the Bulacan Airport will push through easing air traffic congestions.

“Because of that, we’re pushing for more PPP, we’re filing, I filed personally, amendments to the BOT (build, operate, transfer) Law to make it simpler. In other words, ease of doing business sa PPP. It’s going to be discussed in the committee level -- amendments to the PPP law” he said.

He said that PPP attracts more foreign and local investors. They are on top of the infrastructure, road networks, bridge networks, airports, seaports, pointing to the ongoing PPP project named One Visayas Bridge Program -- connecting Bohol and Cebu, Cebu to Negros, Negros to Iloilo and Panay Island to Guimaras. (PNA)