By Joe Zaldarriaga

Patriotism to PH

The travel and tourism industry is a known crucial revenue generator for the government and it was one of the first sectors we looked into to revive the ailing economy.

Prior to the pandemic, share of the travel and tourism industry to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was at 12.9 percent, before plunging to only 5.1 percent in 2020 amid the series of lockdowns to keep the virus outbreak at bay.

Now that the situation is somehow normalizing, the need for better facilities and services has again become more crucial. With the recent electrical problem at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 though, the need for a major upgrade again became the talk of the town.

Last May 1, a power outage hit NAIA’s terminal 3, affecting 9,000 passengers following a “fault current” or the abnormal amount of electricity current that flowed through a circuit. This may have caused the circuit tripping and power outage. Technical personnel of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) were quick to arrive and resolved the power outage.

This was the second time this year that NAIA was on the news for all the wrong reasons. The first, on New Year’s Day, when more than 200 flights were canceled, rerouted and delayed after an equipment mishap triggered a breakdown in the airport’s Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management or CNS/ATM system.

Following the twin incidents, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista vowed to conduct a full electrical audit of NAIA Terminal 3, as well as NAIA 1 and 2.

Businessman and philanthropist Manuel V. Pangilinan or MVP, who currently chairs Meralco, offered a patriotic act of helping in the full electrical audit of the facility at no cost to the government. An audit officially began on Friday and is expected to be completed over the next three weeks. This will help the government find the problem, address it and eventually map out projects that are needed to modernize and upgrade the terminal.

“Ang magandang balita, ang grupo ni Mr. Manny Pangilinan ay nag-o-offer ng libreng electrical audit. Kausap ko sila kanina. Siguro sa Monday, magkakaroon na kami ng first meeting,” Bautista was quoted as saying in a radio interview on May 2.

Gov't support

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic emerged, MVP has already been supportive of the government in crafting initiatives that are geared towards nation-building.

When Typhoon Odette hit Visayas and Mindanao in December 2021, companies under the MVP Group extended assistance to affected families in the form of power service restoration through Meralco, as well as provided relief packages and various assistance through other companies under the MVP Group.

He also supported the government’s goal towards digitalization and achieving food security.

Earlier this year, through Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the group acquired a 34.76-percent stake in Axelum Resources Corporation as well as a controlling stake in The Laguna Creamery Inc. The twin investments form part of MVP’s goal and priority “to feed our people first,” and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) Goal 2, which aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

MPIC’s subsidiaries have also embraced the digitalization of their existing operations and innovative initiatives that encapsulate the group’s overall goal to become a leader in sustaining the country’s expanding digital landscape.

According to MVP, the role of the private sector is to take the lead in driving the digitalization plans of the country together with the government—and pouring investments into infrastructure and manpower while espousing digital advancement “will continuously enable us to provide the convenience and accessibility Filipinos deserve.”

His support through his various businesses is a clear definition of patriotism, because not only will it benefit the government’s goals and initiatives, but ultimately, for the public that it serves.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


About the Columnist

Image of Joe Zaldarriaga

Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.

Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.