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Let us go back to basics
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: None
Date: 2003-01-10
The Philippines is perceived to be among the most competitive and popular tourist destinations in Asia. But we have continuously missed out a substantial share in this lucrative industry.

The problems are identified but the solutions are only hypes in media. Publicity has created solutions that only our imagination can see and has blind-folded the public.

We should face the reality now before our worse situation turns into its worst form.

Media hype cannot solve issues unless the government focus on the fundamental problems in our industry and strictly implement solutions.

Statistics say that we have an average of less than two million tourists visiting the Philippines. But this can still be a “guesstimate”. We cannot lure tourists unless we address crucial concerns.

Let us simplify the problems. Break down a complicated issue to its simplest form. Prioritize, address them one by one and always carry out doable solutions.

Starting within the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), tourists arriving in the Philippines should be positively overwhelmed by our cleanliness and orderliness.

The immigration officers who discriminate tourists in the Philippines are worst! They treat Japanese as Yakuzas, Arabians as terrorists and Chinese as overstaying Mandarin speaking aliens. Plus, the booths are not properly manned.

The surrounding areas of NAIA should be developed and squatters should be relocated so that the route to and from the airport can be improved.

Why cannot the Pasay City local government solve the squatter problem when Marikina has solved theirs? Because there is no fund for relocation and so the national government should step in.

The delay of NAIA 3’s opening, furthermore, is a welcome relief. Roads within the controversial airport are yet to be completed to provide unparalleled ease. No lights are installed, no cargo warehouse was completely built, the security is insufficient and airlines still have to build their offices, which will take six months. But the people behind this wanton project wanted it operational by Dec. 15 last year. Only in the Philippines!

Plus, normally in other countries, access roads are constructed before the completion of the airport. But here it is the reverse. The EdsaTramo flyover will only be operational come June 2003. Only in the Philippines. “Baliktad!”

When it comes to Villamor, motorists proceed in a funeral march because it is very narrow and there is only one lane en route the highway.

The government should consider widening the entrance of Villamor Air Base from the highway to ease this bottleneck. The driving range in Villamor should be transferred to give way to the widening of the road.

Putting up a highway is interesting but there is insufficient fund to extend an access road. Do not wait for a skyway to Fort Bonifacio be constructed again.

For your information, tourists avail of the limousine service from NAIA to go to their local destinations. But only in the Philippines does limousine service costs as expensive as a sedan, which is 10 times higher than an ordinary taxi fare from a nearby hotel to NAIA! Imagine their Philippine tourism experience overshadowed by the limousine service gang.

Moreover, I can still recall a well-lighted EDSA stretch from Pasay Rotonda to Monumento. But after the construction of the MRT I, Edsa lights turned into black? Maybe, if only valuable materials were stored properly, these could have been placed on streets leading to and from the airport. Thus, cost would be minimized.

Where did the lights go?

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), on the other hand, should prove that they are really existing by cleaning the perennial garbage problem that has choked Metro Manila.

These are the real issues that need to be addressed promptly. But the real score is, these simplified problems that need simple solutions are ignored because government officials’ selfish interests will not be compensated in solving these unless they perform pervert magical schemes.

Let us go back to basics. Recognize and improve our products. Finally, we can promote!

(For your comments and suggestions, e-mail the writer at


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