The Singer, Not the Song

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


MALACANANG is likely to ignore (deadma style) the Clark Challenge summit led by Rep. Joseller Guiao (1st Dist.) which called for an open declaration of President Aquino’s intentions in several fronts.

Guiao and fellow summiteers need not look for the needle in the Clark haystack. The President’s men at the former US military base have been spelling out the government’s policies and plans for Clark development including that of the Clark International Airport.

CDC President Arturo Tugade has been transparent about CDC’s present and future policies and programs, viz., the acquisition of more and continuous investments, sustained tourism promotion; maximized revenue intake, while imposing new work ethics for efficiency and integrity.

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CIAC President Victor Jose Luciano has been implementing the government’s policies and plans for an improved and expanded airport terminal in accordance with the DOTC blueprint for airport development nationwide. The plan for CIA as alternative international gateway is a pipe dream.

Both officials have been enunciating President Aquino’ policy plans for the Freeport and the airport. Demanding categorical, unequivocal, detailed policy statements from P-Noy is like asking him to declare his personal decision on his future status. Whether or not he remains single or ends his bachelorhood will be a guessing game.

Pampango political and business leaders should consider and take a hint from P-Noy’s alter ego at Clark, BCDA chief Arnel Paciano Casanova who has announced a blockbuster proposed Green City at Clark. The BCDA’s memorandum of agreement with its Korean partner consortia to establish this gigantic undertaking has the President’s imprimatur. That seems to be an open declaration enough on where Clark development policy is staked.

As for the airport, the present engineering work being done there indicates the CIA is being developed as an auxiliary facility to the NAIA, but precisely as home to low budget carriers. It is not being built as a cathedral but as an expanded parish church.

The Guiao summit had the best intentions of the congressman and his supporters in action. Laudable as their objectives were a tactical error was inadvertently done in choosing- and rallying behind- Guiao as the chief proponent of an agenda with political implications in Region 3.

Seeing two top executives of tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan on center stage, a Liberal Party source believed MVP largely funded the summit partly in support to promoting Guiao’s political leadership but chiefly in connection with the businessman’s planned investments in the region.

The LP man asked, “Don’t they realize that Yeng, who is known as openly identified with the hospital-detained former President now Rep. Arroyo may not exactly have the ears of Malacanang?”

The only Pampango leader who enjoys persuasive powers with the President is Rep. Oscar Rodriguez. That the former world class city mayor was upstaged by the popular basketball coach in the Clark Summit does not deduce from his credence as a trusted leader and a friend of P-Noy.

Another tactical error of the Clark summit organizers was the abject failure to marshal full attendance of all Region 3 governors and members of Congress. With the said officials showing up in full force at Clark, and their collective voices sounding loud as that felled the walls of Jericho, Malacanang would probably react with urgent and serious response.

Observers found it pitiful that the governors of Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bataan, and Zambales, along with their respective Representatives were absent, implying their non-involvement in vital regional concerns.

Still the Summit should have invited and secured a top key official, someone the President trusts, like Sen. Pres. Frank Drilon, to be a keynote speaker at the event. This will assure, at least, the Palace’s participatory and prompt attention to the Clark Challenge.

The laudable presence of business leader Levy Laus, Gov. W. Alvarado of Bulacan, and Gov. Lilia Pineda of Pampanga cannot make up for the absence of the other governors and Region 3 lawmakers.

It was show time for Yeng as though he sang “My Way.” In Malacanang, however, the occupant is moved not by the song but by the singer.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 22, 2014.

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