PAMPANGA

Sangil: GMA rolled up her sleeves again

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IT IS always an extra interesting read each time the papers are carrying stories about former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She is very

active lately in her new role as presidential adviser in flagship project for Clark programs. She won't enjoy a garden leave. Her "apostolic" duties are lessened now since her grandkids are in their teen years now. What is admirable about the former president is her undying vision for Pampanga. She is still young compared to United States president-elect Joe Biden who at 78 years of age campaigned in the whole length and breathe of a big country and won against a recalcitrant incumbent president in Donald Trump. (By the way, GMA is in her early seventies). She must have been inspired by the Biden's win.

Many of us Kapampangans wanted to see her to run again in the second congressional district where I am too sure she will be running unopposed. She will bring peace again in the House of Representatives as speaker and end the bitterness between the feuding camps of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and former Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano. Back to her role as presidential adviser on Clark project, she believes there's so much to be done aside from collecting rents from the locators.

It might be recalled that when she was the Malacanang tenant she came out with a definite plan to make the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) aka Clark International Airport as the international gateway. Somehow the plan was stalled due to several hiccups, shall I say. The growth of the Freeport, the economic zone and the much vaunted Clark Green City is anchored on the full development of Clark airport. The prepared master plan indicated that. Until a year ago it was taken over by the Gotianun led LIPAD. The latest news is that the terminal is 99 percent finish already.

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Clark International Airport is the growth driver for Central and Northern Luzon.

In the past many years, I have been observing the developments of this once American military installation. I covered it as part of my beat as a newsman in the sixties and seventies, till I became a director of Clark Development Corporation and Clark International Corporation in 2001 to 2019. I know it will morph into something big, maybe bigger than Manila metropolis. And now it's going so much ground. There's no doubt the winds of progress is moving towards the Pampanga and Tarlac direction via the Clark Freeport. But there is a downside to it. Prices of real estate in the adjacent communities shot up to high heavens.

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Three expressways, The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway(SCTEX) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union (Tiplex) unlocked the value of the Central and North Luzon regions. And expectedly, the big players the likes of SM Development Corporation of the Sy family, the Ayalas, Andrew Tan's Megaworld and Filinvest of the Gotianuns among others are already in town. Paging Secretary Arthur Tugade. Let government speed up construction of the railways now. It should have been done long time ago. As a good manager will say, "the deadline was yesterday."


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