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Who does Edgardo Manda think he is?

Thursday 20 November 2003

Who does NAIA Airport Manager Edgardo Manda think he is? He's been bragging, if the newspaper reports are correct, that he's been giving singer Mandy Moore flowers and VIP treatment, while now snubbing another American singer, the celebrity Mariah Carey, because her bodyguards had insulted him last Saturday night.
What was the unspeakable, announced crime of the unfortunate Mariah Carey's bodyguards? They had shooed Airport Manager Manda and his chief security, General Angel Atutubo, out of the NAIA Centennial Terminal presidential lounge while the famous Gold-Disk singer was "retouching" her make-up in the lounge. By golly, Manager Manda! Are you one of those mambobosos? When a girl is "retouching" her make-up, this may mean she is also changing her outfit, in Mariah's case preparatory to meeting the fans gathered outside to greet her.
What did Manda expect? That, he, being the Big Shot airport chief, he has the vested right to ogle Ms. Carey within the intimacy of the lounge, even if, sources say, the concert-organizers had paid for the use of that lounge? When they paid, they paid for PRIVACY. What gives Mr. Manda and his General the license to leer at a celebrity on the pretext they are giving her and her staff "airport VIP treatment"?
What's our Lady President, Madam GMA, doing about her airport man's scandalous behavior - which is far from gentlemanly towards a woman singer - at the airport and his absurd claim the airport is his "home". It's not Mr. Manda's home or his personal fiefdom - the airport, the last I looked, was called "Ninoy Aquino International Airport", and belongs to the Filipino people! As for Ms. Carey, yesterday's reports say she may leave from another airport since Manda's indignation is proving so nasty.
Does GMA and our government realize the implications of Manda's resentful behavior and his arrogant rantings? Mariah Carey is an international Star, adored by scores of millions around the planet. When she declares, at her next foreign press conference, whether in Hong Kong or back in the USA, that she was treated shabbily in the Philippines, or even hints she was pursued by a leering official, or subjected to acts of "revenge", the spin on this will be that Filipinos are barbarians, skirt-chasers (may be true, in part?), celebrity-harassers, and uncouth types who'd barge uninvited into a girl's impromptu dressing room! Gee whiz, Mr. Manda. Did her bodyguards ask you to leave the room where she was "touching up"? Perhaps you shouldn't even have been there, to begin with.
An international airport manager has more important work to do: Like keeping security at the airport, even the Airport Tower in 24-hour, tiptop condition; inspecting toilets and making sure they don't stink; making EVERY commuter, flight crew and everyone who uses the airport, feel comfortable, safe, and confident they are getting efficient service.
When Manda speaks of "Filipino hospitality", making the entire airport user-friendly delivers that message, not his personally handing out bouquets to visiting celebrities. There are supposed to be greeters assigned for such duties, not the manager himself. Does the manager of Heathrow, Paris CDG, Frankfurt airport, JFK in New York, LAX in L.A., to cite just a few, go out to greet the Ms. Careys, Mandy Moores, or other "stars" of the world, as part of his daily chores? Or, worse, impose themselves on famous airport arrivals?
Remember when one of our international airport managers kicked The Beatles in the butt as they departed, because, he boasted, he was angry they had refused to go to Malacaņang to sing for Imeldific, the then First Lady and Superma'am and her "guests"? (Those were the Martial Law days when Super-Imeldific must have thought she was Queen Marie Antoinette.)
Of course, The Beatles couldn't go to the Palace: They had commitments abroad - and, besides, the spoiled Marcos big shots expected them to sing there FOR FREE. What are we, a nation of cheapskates and freeloaders? Those guys sang for a living. Anyway, this airport official, eager to curry favor with the Boss Lady and the Big Cheese, Macoy, publicly kicked them at his airport as they left. This news was flashed all over the world. The Beatles were asked about it at every press conference. It is now enshrined, to our shame, in all the "history" books on The Beatles, and the entertainment industry.
Now, is it happening again? By gosh, do we never learn? The Beatles are idolized by two generations, thus our embarrassment at having one of our officials very specifically kicked them out of the country at the airport has been compounded a thousandfold. Mariah Carey is now in a position to add to that - well, awful legend. Mr. Manda: Tell us it isn't true. But all your press releases say it is.

(The Philippine Star)

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