Fact check: NAIA not renamed back to MIA

July 11, 2022 - 6:07 PM
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This file photo shows the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. (The STAR/File)

Claim: A YouTuber claimed the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was reverted to the Manila International Airport (MIA), reviving failed efforts to rename the country’s main gateway. 

Showbiz Fanaticz, who has repeatedly published false information, posted a July 6 video claiming that the name of the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was erased. Aquino was a leading oppositional figure during the Martial law era whom the airport was named after.

The headline in all caps reads: 

NOW NA! PANGALAN ni NINOY sa AIRPORT BURADO NA| NAIA PAPALITAN NA ng MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPOIRT

The video also used an old clip of suspended lawyer Larry Gadon to give the false impression that his 2018 petition to rename NAIA was approved. 

Rating: False

Facts

The country’s main airport is still named NAIA as there has neither been a presidential proclamation nor a law passed by Congress approving the name change. 

Three attempts have been made in Congress to replace the airport’s name in recent history. Its most recent one was a bill filed by Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. seeking to rename NAIA to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport. The lawmaker based his bill on a false claim that the airport was built during the term of the late dictator. 

Official records of the Manila International Airport Authority show that the Philippines’ first international airport was completed in 1961, or four years before Marcos became president. 

Two other bills filed in June 2020 and April 2022, sought to rename NAIA to the “Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas” and to restore the name to MIA, respectively. Both bills remain pending at the committee level. 

Only a presidential proclamation or a law passed by Congress can change the name of the public airport, according to the NHCP. 

The country’s main international gateway was originally known as MIA but was renamed NAIA by virtue of Republic Act 6639 in 1987 in honor of the late opposition figure who was assassinated on the airport’s tarmac. 

Contrary to the video’s claim, Gadon did not succeed in his 2018 petition to restore the airport’s old name. Gadon’s 2020 petition seeking to nullify RA 6639 was also junked by the Supreme Court for “lack of merit.” 

RELATED: What’s in a name? A lookback on petitions filed to rename NAIA

Why it matters

The video with false claim is still up on Showbiz Fanaticz’s YouTube channel and has since garnered 20,004 views. It also received and at least 1,300 likes on YouTube as of posting. A CrowdTangle search also revealed it has been reposted 31 times. 

While the YouTube channel’s subscription details are not available, it has a wide reach since it joined the video-sharing platform on Nov. 9, 2017. The channel has so far earned 300,172,630 total views.

This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

Interaksyon is part of #FactsFirstPH, a multi-sectoral initiative promoting truth in public space and demanding accountability for falsehoods. For those interested to join the initiative, email [email protected]

Interaksyon is also a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippine elections. It is an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.