A time to speak about the airport

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Sunday, May 25, 2014


COMPLAINTS - Many are asking, not only my Cumpareng Perto Cruz of Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKMA), if there is a definite plan of the national government to make the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) aka Clark International Airport as the international gateway. There was during the watch of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, but somehow the plan was stalled due to several hiccups, shall I say.

FRESH DEVELOPMENTS- Lately the news filtering out from business pages of metropolitan newspapers is that the top honcho of the San Miguel Corporation diversified conglomerates, Mr. Ramon S. Ang proposed to build a $10 Billion main air gateway somewhere near the former Sangley Naval Base, a proximity of Metro Manila.

Other big time property developers like the Gokongwei group are also trying to partner with Mr. Ang in building the main gateway. Not to be left behind are the Ayala group and the SM group of the Sy family which also wanted to have a stake. It makes us nervous. With all these giants in Philippine industries trying to snatch the real growth of central and north Luzon, stalling further the development of DMIA will cause more sleepless nights to Pareng Perto and to many other hopefull businessmen as well, who invested their funds in anticipation of the establishment of an international gateway.

Have you notice the many high rise hotels dotting the perimeter road in Angeles City?

STRONG COMMITTMENT- From day one of the GMA presidency, that was in the last week of January 2001, there was already a marching order to develop the former Military Airlift Command(MAC terminal) of the Americans into an international gateway.

For background purposes, we can recall that when the bases conversion law was passed in 1993, the clean up of ash-covered Clark started and a corporate vehicle, Clark Development Corporation, was created to transform the former American air force base into an economic zone.

Sad to say, there were alternating presidents, mostly former military generals who were appointed to head the Clark International Corporation,but not much headway was accomplished.

CHICHOS LUCIANO- Before Victor Jose Luciano, there were Romy David, Edilberto Yap, Franco Puzon and Danilo Francia, all former Philippine Air Force officers and not much improvement was done on the airport. Even supposedly professional managers like Rufo Colayco,Rogelio 'Babes' Singson, Serge Naguiat and Emmanuel Angeles failed to make substantial accomplishment. During their tenures, ' only flies and mosquitoes were flying at the airport', sans for few commercial airlines coming far and between. President Macapagal Arroyo appointed Luciano in October 2006 and things started moving. Luciano was a good pick since he was formerly a country manager of Asiana Airlines, a legacy carrier of South Korea.

FRESH FACES- Clark International Airport Corporation, the outfit managing the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport was like a ping pong ball. When I was appointed in 2001 as a board member of the Clark Development Corporation(CDC), not only the other appointees were new faces, but had with them fresh ideas on how the airport will take off the ground.

The late Rizalino 'Roy' Navarro, a native of Angeles City and former trade secretary during the presidency of President Fidel V. Ramos, was appointed CDC chairman. CIAC is a mirror board, meaning the board members of CDC were also CIAC board members. Not long after, an executive order from Malacanang made CIAC a separate entity. And when President Noynoy got elected president, he issued an order placing CIAC under the Department of Transportation and Communications, whose secretary then was his former running mate, Mar Roxas. Till today, CIAC is under DOTC. Tnings are not really moving as they should.

(To be continued. Why the so many delays.)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on May 26, 2014.

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