Two Serious Issues on Air Travel: Antiquated Radar System and Terminal Fee

Two Serious Issues on Air Travel:

Antiquated Radar System and

Terminal Fee

By Apolinario Villalobos

As is always with the inefficient system of the government, the problem on the antiquated radar system of the airport has been brought forth because of the concerns on landings and take off, lately. The airport authority admitted the fact that their equipment is outdated. This poses a big problem because of the current situation of the Manila airport due to its lone runway, resulting to heavy traffic for the incoming and departing flights. This is the reason why most often, flights out of Manila are always delayed, as incoming flights are given the priority for their landing resulting to the long queue of aircraft waiting for their turn to use the lone runway for take-off.

This is the problem with the government’s lack of coordination. Its Department of Tourism is energetically promoting inbound travel and travel among the locals around the country, but the aspect on convenient travel is not given attention. The leadership of the agency concerned also lacks the energy to pursue their needs. They are not assertive to let those people in the Senate and Congress – those concerned with the budget, that their service is practically at the edge of becoming inefficient, or better, useless. So many airport terminals in the country are dilapidated. Even the four terminals in Manila are in sorry state. The NAIA 1 stinks and humid, the NAIA 3 has falling ceilings and leaking pipes. As a cover-up, the MIAA came up with a brand for their service – “service with a smile”. The guy from the MIAA who appeared on TV was also wearing a big smile, as if, the concocted brand name is already a big deal – a big accomplishment! If the guy reflects the kind of people running the airports, then, the country has a big problem. What the airport needs is a reasonable budget so that the antique radar system can be improved to be at par with the demand for efficient operation, period!

 

Manila pales in comparison even with Kuala Lumpur when it comes to this aspect of travel. A television series on travel showed the hi-tech facilities of Malaysia airport, which includes even a train connected with the airport terminal for the convenience of arriving and departing passengers! And, to think that the Philippines is way ahead of Malaysia in becoming an independent country!

As if the travails of the dilapidated airport terminals are not enough, here comes the issue on the integration of the terminal fee in the purchase of the tickets. Again, the lack of sound analysis of government “intellectuals”, the so-called bright people of the President, surfaces. They seem to have forgotten the problem that such integration gave insurmountable problems to the air travel industry in the past, that is why, it was discontinued. Obviously, they are not aware of how tickets are processed and the circumstances that surround these travel documents afterwards.

The integration of terminal fee in the purchased airline ticket will add corners to the process of ticket issuance, to the detriment of the all parties, especially the passengers, because:

-if an airline ticket is issued by an authorized travel agent, the remittance will become complicated, as the inefficient Department of Tourism will be added as another party to the transaction;

-if the ticket is issued by the airline concerned, the same complication will be involved;

-if the purchased airline ticket is not used, but intended for refund, instead, the process will become more complicated, due to the inclusion of the inefficient Department of Tourism;

-the man-hour and manpower involved are bloated, as close liaising with the Department of Tourism regarding all airline ticket transactions becomes part of the process.

Considering all the mentioned red tapes, the owner of the ticket suffers at the end. Not all tickets issued are owned by locals. Some tickets are issued on the spot to foreign tourists who decide sometimes to travel to destinations that catch their fancy while traveling around the country. If due to inclement weather, they failed to use the ticket/s, they will surely have to have them refunded. Will they extend their stay in the Philippines just to go through the refund process – considering still the proven inefficiency of the Department of Tourism? Compared to the current standard procedure in which unused ticket can be refunded by the travel agent or the airline concerned, the proposed integration system will definitely spell disaster to the tourism industry!

The problem with the “bright people” in the government, lawmakers included, is that they are blubbers! In an effort to catch the limelight, for self-glorification via the media, they just talk and talk without even thinking with reason! What the airports need is an efficient system to accommodate the influx of outbound passengers paying terminal fee, by opening the counters much earlier so that passengers will be more encouraged to check in, and deploy staff to match the influx. The problem is the long queue of passengers due to the late opening of the counters for terminal fee!

These “bright” government people should take a closer look at the real and glaring state of the tourism industry with towns and cities shamelessly suffering from dilapidated airport terminals, runways pockmarked with holes, closed airports due to purportedly lack of budget, absence of convenient lodging facilities, sorry state of roads leading to their provinces, and many other urgent concerns to which budgets are supposed to find their way, instead of letting the government moneys left at the mercy of the “kawatans” – government robbers clad in barong tagalog in the Senate, Congress, and Malacaῆan who discourse about “ghost projects” – with all “honesty” and “legal fluency”!

If these government people are really concerned about the promotion of convenient travel and tourism in general, they should not threaten the already suffering air travel and tourism industry with such inutile and nonsensical idea, that can only come from a pea-brain!

Ang “Golden Rule” Na Dapat Isaisip ni Pnyo Aquino

Ang “Golden Rule”

Na Dapat Isaisip ni Pnoy Aquino

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

“Huwag gawin sa iba ang ayaw mong gawin nila sa iyo”…. “Golden Rule” o Gintong Salawikain na dapat palaging isaisip ni Pnoy Aquino. Sa ginagawa niya ngayon kay Gloria Arroyo na maya’t maya niyang binabato ng pagsisisi, hindi malayong gawin din sa kanya ito ng kanyang mga kalaban pagbaba niya sa puwesto. Dapat sana niyang unawain na lahat ng mga umupong presidente ng Pilipinas ay nabahiran ng katiwalian, at hindi nakaligtas sa iba pang pamumuna hindi lang ng mga kapwa pulitiko, kundi maski ordinaryong mamamayan. Maliwanag na hindi lang sa administrasyon ni Gloria Arroyo nagsimula ang mga katiwalian, na naipon nang naipon sa tagal ng panahon dahil hindi naresolba ng mga pumapalit na administrasyon. Ang cronyism na akala ng mga Pilipino ay nabura sa kultura ng pulitika nang mawala si Ferdinand Marcos ay naiwan pa rin pala sa administrasyon ng pumalit na si Cory Aquino, at lalo pang lumala!…kaya tuloy pa rin ang corruption, yon nga lang malabnaw ang turing.

Mana-mana…yan ang nangyayari sa mga problema ng bansa na namamana ng mga bagong administrasyon mula sa kanilang pinalitan. May karapatang pumuna ang bagong upong presidente subalit hindi niya pwedeng gawing dahilan ang mga minanang problema, sa pagka-inutil niya sa pagpapatupad ng mga bagong programa at paglutas ng mga problemang kinakaharap niya, mga problemang nangyari na sa ilalim ng administrasyon niya.

Ang palaging pagbato ng sisi sa ibang tao ay tanda ng karuwagan at kahinaan sa paglutas ng mga problema. Ang isa pang tawag sa ganitong gawi ay “paghuhugas-kamay”. Sa kagustuhan ng taong naninisi na magkaroon siya ng isang magaling na imahe sa mata ng tao, lahat ng mali ay ibabato niya sa iba. Pagka- makasarili ding maituturing ang ganitong ugali dahil ang tinitingnan lang niya ay ang kanyang kapakanan.

Ang dapat gawin ni Pnoy habang may natitira pa siyang panahon ay lutasin ang mga problema niya sa kanyang administrasyon na animo ay mga talabang nakakapit ng mahigpit sa kinakalawang na barko! Dahil sa bigat ng mga talabang ito na dumagdag sa bigat ng makapal nang kalawang na tanda naman ng pagka-inutil sa pagharap sa mga problema, sa halip na umusad ay lulubog ang barko na nagsisimbolo naman ng Pilipinas!

Mt. Kanlaon

Mt. Kanlaon

By Apolinario Villalobos

Roughly half the size of Switzerland, Negros Island has a topography which is basically mountainous and volcanic. From the northern end of the island, the mountain ranges cut the mainland into several portions. Aside from the volcanic Mt. Silay, the Mt. Kanlaon has figured as the other most popular peak at 8,100 feet above sea level, in fact, the highest in the whole of central Philippines. The most outstanding features of Mt. Kanlaon are the lush tropical rain forests with various types of wildlife that comprise a well-preserved ecology system in the area.

It was declared as a national park in August 1934 and has likewise conformed to the standards of an international park due to its undisturbed ecosystem with geomorphological and physiological characteristics in an almost primeval setting and condition. Its virgin forests covers more or less 75 percent of the park’s 24,500 hectares and is one of the few remaining domains in the country where significant number of wildlife exists. It is a special-interest destination in the Visayas region for birdwatchers, nature explorers, and trekkers.

Mt. Kanlaon, referred to as the “sacred mountain” of the Visayas, is alos among the thirteen active volcanoes in the Philippines. Trekking to the peak is an activity which is of great interest to mountaineers and simple tourists who just love adventure.

When I joined the PAL Mountaineering Club for a trek up Mt. Kanlaon, we took the traditional trail that started from the base camp at Masulog in Canlaon City. From the base camp, we trod on the trails winding over hills, passing through vegetable plantations until we reached the forest line. Normally, the actual trek should start at about four in the morning, just before the break of dawn, in time to within the forest line by sunrise. Trekking inside the forest took about three hours.

When we reached the rocky and steep 7,300 promontory, we had a bird’s eye view of the plains below. Trekking does not require the use of any climbing rope, but it is necessary when the climber prefers to negotiate either the rather steeper east or west face of the volcanic cone.

At the summit, I was awed by the magnificent artwork of nature as best exemplified by the geologic structure of the active crater which measures 300 meters across and descending to a depth of about 780 feet where vents emit thick wisps of sulfuric fume.

The active crater which marks the highest point of the volcano was the result of an explosion that took place at the southern flank of the original crater cone some millions of years ago. Now extinct, the crater is huge with steeper sides, particularly the northern wall which has been covered with mossy type of forest comprised of dwarf trees. Inside the old crater, a wide area, sandy and very flat as if it has been flattened by an enormous roller, serves a s camping ground for the trekkers. The locals call the flat land, Margaha Valley, which usually gets flooded during the rainy season, and becomes some kind of a lagoon.

There are small lagoons found in the forested area of the National Park, the most beautiful of which is the “Hardin sang Balo” (Garden of the Widow), a supposedly enchanted spot, as locals believe that the lagoon is owned by fairies.

Trekking to the summit of Mt. Kanlaon should be made leisurely to enjoy the sceneries and the indigenous flora and fauna encountered along the way. The forested areas, by the way, are infested with leeches.

For treks, individuals and groups as advised to coordinate with the local tourism office so that necessary assistance can be extended, and most importantly, monitoring for their safety can be made.

Ang Kayabangan Ni “Little Brother”

Ang Kayabangan ni “Little Brother”

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa pagpunta ni Presidente Pnoy sa Amerika, marami siyang mga ginawang hindi kaaya-aya para sa tingin ng maraming Pilipino. Inupakan na naman niya ang dating presidenteng Gloria Arroyo at pinuri ang kanyang mga cabinet secretaries lalo na si Allan Purisima ang PNP Chief, at nag-report ng mga kwestiyonableng mga proyekto. Ang mga Pinoy sa Amerika na audience niya sa mga talumpati ay pumalakpak ng masigabo, subali’t yong mg nakakaunawa ng tunay sa sitwasyon sa Pilipinas ay nagprotesta sa labas. Pero may isang nakalusot na babaeng estudyanteng ipinagsigawan sa harap ni Pnoy ang mga kamalian ng kanyang administrasyon, kuntodo pakita pa ng malaking papel na pinagsulatan ng kanyang protesta. Itong babaeng protester ang dapat palakpakan dahil sa kanyang katapangan!

Hindi pa nadala ang presidente, kaya sa isa namang pagpupulong, kahit hindi siya hinihingan ng commitment tungkol sa isyu ng ISIS, binoluntaryo naman niya ang tulong ng Pilipinas subali’t sa paraang hindi daw mangahuhulugan ng kamatayan ng mga volunteers na Pilipino. Isa na namang okasyon ito na dada lang ng dada ang pangulo ng hindi pinag-iisipan ang sasabihin. Ang isyu ng ISIS ay may kinalaman sa bakbakan kaya nangangahulugang maaaring mamamatay ang ipapadala doon. Ang iniisip yata niya ay maging tagaluto ng pagkain sa field mess halls ang mga sundalong Pilipino na ipapadala doon, o di kaya ay maging telephone operator, o di kaya ay maging driver ng mga opisyal! Buti na lang at hindi humagalpak ng tawa ang kanyang kausap o di kaya ay nagkamot ng ulo!

Hindi na naisip ni Pnoy na ang ating bansa mismo ay may sariling problema sa terorismo, na kinasasangkutan ng Abu Sayyaf at BIFF. Kaya dapat ay dito nakatuon ang kanyang atensiyon. Hindi na siya dapat pang lumayo upang magyabang. Malaki ang budget ng military para sa intelligence kaya dapat alam ng gobyerno ang galaw ng dalawang grupong nabanggit. Limitado ang galaw ng mga teroristang ito sa mga lugar sa Mindanao na tukoy na. Bakit hindi ito ang trabahuhin ng mga kasundaluhan sa halip na gamitin sila sa kayabangan sa ibang bansa? Nabisto na pinasukan na rin ng anomalya ang sweldo ng mga pinapadala sa ibang bansa upang mapasama sa peace keeping forces ng United Nations. Ang turing pala dapat sa mga Pilipinong sundalo kapag nandoon na ay “pantay-pantay”, kaya ang sweldo ay dapat “pantay-pantay” rin. Subalit nabisto na dahil sa Pilipinas inire-release ang sweldo o allowance ng mga ito, ibinabatay pa rin ang halaga sa rangko! Sa laki ng allowance, saan napunta ang ibang halaga na kinaltas mula sa sweldo ng mga sundalong mababa ang rangko?

Nakakahiya at nakakabahala ang patuloy na pangingidnap ng Abu Sayyaf, na nitong mga huling araw ay hindi na rin pinatawad maski mga kapwa Muslim, basta mayaman. Ang BIFF naman, maya’t maya ang pagpapasabog ng bomba sa mga lugar na makursunadahan nila upang iparating sa gobyerno na buhay pa sila at malakas sumipa. Sa panig naman ng military, sasabihin lang nito na huwag mag-alala ang taong bayan dahil hindi makakarating sa Maynila ang terorismo. Sigurado ba sila? Sa palpak na seguridad sa mga airport at pantalan, huwag naman sanang may makalusot. At dapat isipin ng gobyerno na hindi lang ang mga regular na pantalan ang pwedeng daungan ng mga terorista kung gusto nilang lumusob ng paunti-unti. Mahaba ang baybayin ng Pilipinas dahil mga bumubuo sa bansa ay mga isla! Walang kapasidad ang Philippine Navy na proteksiyunan ang mga baybayin dahil sa bulok nitong mga barko! At isa pa, bakit Maynila lang ang inaalala? Paano ang mga nagdudusa na dahil sa mga nangyayaring terorismo sa Mindanao?

Pag-uwi, ipagyayabang ni Presidente Pnoy ang mga “nakupo” o “captured investors” sa kanyang pag-ikot sa Yuropa at Amerika. Ang mga ito ay “nangako” na maglalagak ng investment sa Pilipinas. Subalit madali ang hindi tumupad sa pangako lalo na kung may mabibigat na dahilan. At dito sa Pilipinas ay marami nitong mga dahilan…ang mga bulok na airport terminal, maiigsing mga runway at kakulangan ng mga ito lalo na sa Maynila, ang matinding trapik sa himpapawid para sa mga eroplano at sa mga kalsada na tadtad din ng mga lubak, mga baha, ang red tapes na isa sa mga resulta ng corruption sa gobyerno, lalo na ang mga kidnapping. Ang mga pangakong ito ay ipamamana niya sa susunod na administrasyon kung bababa siya. Kung ibang tao ang uupo, wala nang pakialam si Pnoy kung matutuloy ang pangako o hindi. Samantala, pag-uwi niya ay may irereport siya sa madla…. mga nakasulat sa papel! At asahang bibitsenan niya ito ng pagbatikos kay Gloria Arroyo at pagpuri kay Purisima!