‘Breath of fresh air’: A new Naia experience
Recently, we were in the Philippines on another visit and we believe that this observation merits the attention of the director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, William K. Hotchkiss III.
Upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), everyone queued in an orderly fashion for checking by immigration officers. That the procedure was a breeze, despite the fact that five planeloads of passengers had just arrived, was amazing. The officers dealt with everyone in a friendly yet professional manner.
Amazingly enough, too, there were Naia ground personnel offering assistance everywhere, and they gave no hint that they expected something in return for their service. The experience was a “breath of fresh air.” We had come visiting the Philippines so many times in the past, and always there was this dreadful feeling that no one in Naia would assist us unless we first give out a tip, otherwise ground personnel would just gather around us; or if ever they held forth a cart, you get the impression they were asking for something in return.
The inspection of our luggage came next. We had four pieces of luggage. When asked if we had anything to declare, we replied that there was nothing and the officers let us go without any further question.
Once out of the gate, we proceeded directly to the airport taxi kiosk, where someone took our taxi’s number as well as our destination, and off we went to our hotel.
The whole process took just 30 minutes or less. My husband and I discussed the entirely “new” and different experience and decided that people from the outside need to know that good governance is starting right here, right where people can notice, that corruption in the Philippines is slowly losing ground. Some readers may think that this is nothing to crow about, but small, baby steps are all we need to eradicate the problem of corruption. We know that we shall overcome the stigma that has haunted us for so long. We are naturalized American citizens but we never stopped being proud to be Filipinos.
We believe as well that the incumbent President of the Philippines is doing a good job. We have to make him feel that he is not alone and we are with him in his dream to put the Philippines on the map as one of Asia’s rising stars. “It’s more fun in the Philippines” is so true. We hope that what President Aquino has started will continue with his successors.
Mabuhay and more power to all who are helping showcase the Philippines to the outside world.
—MARIO UY and VARSILISA CLEMENTE,
813 Marconi St.,
Montebello, CA 90640
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