Metro Manila, Philippines— 
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the government has no plans to privatize “anything,” especially the country’s airports.

“We have no plans of privatizing anything, rather the opposite,” Marcos said on Monday at a media briefing.

In December, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said the administration was pursuing the privatization of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. However, Marcos said the transport chief may have misspoken.

“You cannot privatize an airport, to begin with. A private firm cannot own the airport,” Marcos clarified.

Marcos said that during their trip to New York, they met the group that was running Gatwick Airport in the United Kingdom and asked if they could come to the country to help with the NAIA.

“They were here last week to look at the operations of the airport, and especially since we had that problem on New Year’s Day. At most, we will have a management contract,” he said.

Marcos said this could be done without any changes, new equipment, or building a new runway.

Marcos offered no further details about the group he spoke with, what was discussed during the assessment of the airport, or whether any changes would be made soon to improve the situation at the country’s main gateway.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is conducting an investigation on the NAIA mess that affected tens of thousands of travelers on New Year’s Day.

However, Senate Public Services Committee Chairperson Grace Poe has asked CAAP Director General Manuel Tamayo and other officials to inhibit from the probe, saying CAAP should not be investigating itself.

CAAP officials have stayed mum on the matter, saying they would answer all other issues when the Senate hearing on the air traffic management system fiasco resumes.