Duterte wants Sangley airport in Cavite opened by November

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 11) — Dismayed by flight delays at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Sangley Point in Cavite to begin handling domestic flights by November.

Malacañang on Tuesday said Duterte gave the green light to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade's proposal to use Sangley Point during a Cabinet meeting on Monday.

"For implementation na 'yun... Gusto ni Presidente, masyadong matagal ang December, November na lang," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a media briefing. "He's in a hurry. He wants to fix all these things."

In an earlier statement, Panelo said Tugade is preparing an executive order to formalize the President's pronouncement.

"Secretary Tugade reported that he had already initiated the testing of ferries that can operate from Mall of Asia to Sangley within 18-24 minutes," Panelo added.

Sangley Point, also known as Danilo Atienza Air Base in Cavite City, has long been eyed for conversion into an international airport amid congestion woes at the NAIA. Duterte conducted a surprise inspection of the NAIA on Monday as arrivals at Terminal 2 were delayed for hours on Sunday night due to a lightning alert.

In April, Duterte warned that he will ask the Philippine Air Force to "take over" the NAIA, if operations do not improve. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security in December 2018 said security at the NAIA did not meet international standards. The government said it had made security measures in the country's main international gateway a top priority.

Once the Sangley airport becomes operational, Duterte wants a single military or civilian entity in charge of security, Panelo said.