Why Pinoys are opposing MIAA’s plan to remove gang chairs at NAIA-3 arrival lobby

March 27, 2024 - 5:15 PM
Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 arrival lobby. (Philstar.com/Anjilica Andaya)

Some metal gang chairs have been removed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 arrival hall, ahead of plans to permanently remove all of them.

While the said chairs are being cleaned at the moment, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said that they are scheduled to remove all the gang chairs at the NAIA-3 arrival lobby after the Holy Week.

“We can no longer distinguish between legitimate welcomers and strangers who just want to make themselves comfortable. They sleep on the gang chairs in the lobby,” MIAA General Manager Eric Ines said.

Ines added that they are just “securing the area from bad elements of society” as they speculate that some people loitering in the lobby could be thieves targeting passengers.

According to Ines, the gang chairs would instead be placed outside the airport entrance.

This news gained attention on social media with many reacting negatively.

Some defended the use of chairs, citing delayed flights, among others.

“Tinutulugan lang? Malamang dahil naghihintay ng biyahe dahil kailangan maaga sila dyan para hindi matrapik at yung iba puyat pa kaya kailangan matulog. Wala ba talagang common sense ang mga nasa government service?” a comment under ABS-CBN’s post read.

“The commuters always suffer in this way of thinking. Hindi sila ang problema kundi delayed flights, traffic, etc,” he added.

This comment garnered more than a thousand likes.

Another Filipino brought up the Philippine airport’s worst airport ranking.

“Ang competitive talaga ng pinas sa pagiging worst airport in the world,” the online user said.

Meanwhile, on X (formerly Twitter), one user begged to differ with their opinion and agreed with removing chairs.

“Why is everyone up in arms about this? Sa ARRIVALS area iyong mga inalis na upuan na ginawang tambayan. Ito iyong sa ground floor HINDI sa DEPARTURE. They need to decongest that area naman talaga kasi ang hirap makalabas ng mga bumabiyahe,” the post read.

Some Filipinos still disagree despite learning that only chairs at the arrival area will be removed.

“The way @MIAAGovPH observes what’s happening in NAIA is ONLY surface-level,” one X user wrote.

“We expect more from the government to understand the Passenger Journey deeply and know the pain points and touch points along the way to get to the root of the problem and have iterative solutions,” he added.

The move to altogether remove chairs where they are conveniently placed for arriving passengers did not sit well with some Filipinos who found the decision “inconsiderate.”

“Isn’t that the whole point of chairs, ang tambayan? Why do these people hate Filipinos so much? grabe,” said one Facebook user.

“Paano ang mga SC, PWDs, Pregnant women, at mga bata? Alam ba nila na minsan sa sobrang traffic, ang hirap mag-book ng Grab, o kaya hindi agad nakakarating mga susundo?” another X user wrote.

Early March this year, the MIAA also removed metal gang chairs at the NAIA 3 after it received bed bugs or “surot” infestation complaints. These were replaced with new ones.

MIAA said NAIA 3 is now “surot-free.”

READ: #SurotSerye: NAIA asked to disinfect amid bed bug bites complaints | From bed bugs to rats: Video of rat scurrying in NAIA 3 goes viral

Meanwhile, NAIA was named as one of the worst airports in Asia for business travelers by BusinessFinancing.co.uk, based on collated passenger reviews.

The airport complex is currently in rehabilitation under the private-public partnership of the government and a consortium led by San Miguel Corp. 

The 15-year partnership was signed on March 18 and the results of the P170.6-billion project is set to materialize as early as next year.

READ: San Miguel secures bank financing for P170.6 billion airport | Philippines picks San Miguel-led group to upgrade NAIA