OPINION: Pangdaigdigang Paliparan ng Pilipinas


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After suffering and putting up with one of the world’s worst airports for years, many Netizens were beside themselves with excitement over the two-point proposal of PAL president and San Miguel CEO Ramon Ang to build a second runway at NAIA and a new world-class airport at the Cyber Bay area of Manila Bay.

The reaction is understandable considering the virtual disintegration of NAIA in comparison to airports of neighboring countries as well as the actual environment and services at the airport.

But while Netizens were busy wishing the new airport and the second runway into reality, several people missed the fact that by allowing Ramon Ang and San Miguel Corp. to make a presentation to the President and the Cabinet, Malacañang, particularly the President, may well be saying or showing that they are open for business and that the President welcomes professional advice and serious proposals outside of his Cabinet and best buddies.

It can also be considered as Presidential action to reduce red tape and legal paranoia that have so plagued his administration from day one. As the older members of media have continuously pointed out, the P-Noy administration has an overload of lawyers and not enough doers.

Considering the widespread and positive feedback that the presentation garnered from social and traditional media, the President should ride the wave and invite more mavericks, doers and even “critics” to the palace or some neutral forum where he can pick people’s brains, harvest fresh ideas, or anoint doers to get on with their program.

While P-Noy may carry the burden of leadership he should also consider and remember that all of the great leaders, big businessmen, even visionaries in history as well as in the Philippines never did it alone.

Many of them were full pledged ENABLERS who found people like Ramon Ang and simply supported an idea or a concept whose time had come, or was the answer to a common problem.

In an era where “innovation” is the buzzword, we need to remember that it is not usually the original idea that worked, brought fame, or made millions. In many cases, the man or the leader who recognized the potential or took advantage of it often got the credit and the honor.

In the case of the RSA proposals, neither P-Noy nor RSA or even the Filipino people will benefit or get any honor unless we enable each other to do our part, which takes me to the next point. In case no one noticed, the development of the Cebu/Mactan International Airport fell in the lap of an India-based outfit.

Then the government recently announced that the Palawan airport development project went to a South Korean company.

At the rate the DOTC officials have been responding to Ang’s proposal, it would seem like our one big chance of having a world-class airport built by Filipinos might slip by and end up with foreigners once again, simply on the merit of Jurassic rules and “cheapest gets the project.”

Ever since the P-Noy administration took over, people have talked about being proud of the Philippines, about promoting the Philippines. So far the only thing we can really consider a joint effort of all Filipinos, that is a certified success, is our “It’s More Fun in The Philippines” tourism campaign.

The anti-corruption campaign remains an acoustic war full of threats but no prisoners. But now we actually have a worthy challenge both for government and the private sector.

Here we have a chance to change the rules, rewrite our history of divisiveness and crab mentality, and actually attempt what has been commonplace in the private sector.

Anyone who thinks the new airport can’t be done is either blind or been living underground for the last few years. The Mall of Asia was built by a Filipino company. The Arena followed right after.

Just last Wednesday I drove around the spectacular stadium of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in Bulacan, which reminded me of a super stadium in the United States. The INC stadium is HUGE, beautiful and from the outside clearly world-class.

So why can’t Filipinos, why can’t a world class Filipino company that is San Miguel Corp. build the airport we can be proud of? The fact of the matter is “Anything can be what we want it to be, if we want it hard enough.”

The problem is we have allowed the naysayers, our competitive spirits, and jealousy to get out of control, to the point of hurting all of us, not just our enemies or competitors.

Every modern day leadership guru or billionaire teaches us that our passion and our idea will only work and succeed when we share it with others. What we must first learn to share is a vision and our individual ability to think big and build big.

It is understandable that government officials are limited or fenced in by their reality and legalities, but that is also why government needs to combine and cooperate with private sector, not just stand on the sidelines or stay within the box.

My mentors have taught me that it is a lot easier to make or find P10 million than P1 million. People will willingly partner, fund or lend money to a great new idea, than to an old one with small returns.

The truth of the matter, although many of them won’t admit it, is that many of the so-called rival corporations and business leaders share or partition projects from time to time.

The only reason things get rough is when the project is too small or there is very little meat on the bone. Building what could be the Pangdaigdigang Paliparan ng Pilipinas (PPP) will be so huge it could be a construction fiesta for many corporations in the Philippines.

The next thing “would-be doers” need to learn is to see the problem and come up with the solution.

Many people throw their hands up the minute they see the problem because they don’t know the answer. What I’ve learned is someone else usually has the answer or is the solution.

The Philippine government had a problem called NAIA and is tied up in lots of bureaucracy. San Miguel Corp. has boldly stepped up to the plate and pitched.

Do we go for a home run or do we sit and watch some foreign company take over yet again?  “Puso” and “Bayanihan” are not just words — they are Filipino.

Source: CTALK by Cito Beltran, Philippine Star

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