A fruitful meet between airport GM and in-house media

IT was totally unexpected.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Eric Jose Ines, in all humility, apologized to the airport in-house media whom he met personally for the first time since he assumed office in December last year.

Ditto with his head executive assistant Atty. Chris Noel Bendijo, who said that he was not aware at all that many think he was the airport spokesman at a time when he still wasn’t. He only became so on the very day of the said get-together with the the media.

Both of them also assured the media that they are open for interviews unless they are holding a meeting or having a work-related activity.

The same assurance was given by the public affairs office head Connie Bungag, senior assistant general manager Beng Reyes, assistant general for security and emergency services MGen. Manuel Sequitin and assistant general manager for airport development and corporate affairs Rally Austria, joined GM Ines in his first meeting with the media held at the MIAA boardroom.

Truth to be told, most of the in-house media were already beginning to get the feeling that GM Ines would not want to meet them at all, since he was scarce for interviews. 

However, the impatience is quelled as Ms. Connie would repeatedly assure that while granting interviews and meeting the airport media is on top of his list, GM Ines came into the picture while the airport was already in the thick of things regarding the airport privatization, so that he got preoccupied with catching up and holding meetings left and right.

GM Ines assured the in-house media that he and his team would be truthful as they were not hiding anything.

He also appealed for mutual respect, as he encouraged the media to bring up with them upfront whatever defect they may find, acknowledging that while they will try everything humanly possible to give the best service, no administration is perfect.

It also became clear in that meeting that Atty. Bendijo was not the spokesman up until the meeting held in the boardroom.

Just like his boss, Atty. Bendijo also assured the media of his readiness to answer queries and address concerns at the soonest time possible. He was just as humble and intelligent.

Although it was the first of what GM Ines said he hoped would be a series of regular meetings, the said officials made the in-house media feel like they have known each other for a long time.

And despite the fact that it was initially agreed upon that the meeting would be an informal, simple ‘getting-to-know-you’ event, GM Ines readily agreed to have a press con.

Among others, he announced plans to remove the gang chairs at the NAIA Terminal 3, noting how some people have already turned the lobby area into a place where they could while their time away, loiter or even sleep, with free aircon. The said terminal is the only one where the public is allowed access either to send off or fetch their passengers.

Apart from the eyesores, the airport manager also noted that unscrupulous elements such as thieves and ‘salisi’ have victimized unsuspecting individuals in the past. This is so because the volume of people in the lobby has made it difficult for authorities to make a certain distinction between those who are there to fetch or send off passengers and those with dubious intent.

GM Ines also announced that as we spoke, a joint team from Meralco and the MIAA were already on standby 24/7 to guard against any power outage in preparation for the expected passenger surge before, during and after the Holy Week.

All leaves of those who are directly involved in airport operations were canceled and the presence of uniformed law enforcement and security personnel has been beefed up.

In closing, he said, in part, verbatim: “I promise you this, basta wala akong ginagawa sa opisina nandiyan kayo sa labas, sabihin nyo kay Ms. Cherry andiyan ba si Eric? Pasok kayo, usap tayo sa loob mag-kape tayo diyan. Welcome na welcome kayo. Wala naman kaming tinatago eh. Kayo naman, kung me makita kayo na dapat naming i-improve pa, please tell us directly.’’Wag n’yo nang daanin pa sa diyaryo.Sabihin nyo sa ‘kin directly. Eric, eto nakita namin. Tapos. Para nagkakaintindihan tayo, di ba?”

The meeting had been a fruitful one. We do look forward to having more of this.


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