PAMPANGA First District Representative Joseller "Yeng" Guiao on Tuesday called on Malacañang and enjoined colleagues in Congress to make a stand regarding the future of Clark Freeport and Clark International Airport.

Delivering his first ever privilege speech during the House’s plenary, Guiao said: “Now is the time for President Benigno Aquino III to make a statement concerning Clark’s role in our country’s development. A policy statement from Pres. Aquino is needed on what the role of Clark will be in our national development and to be supported by appropriate actions within a clear time table.”

Guiao stressed that Clark has contributed to the economic growth of Central and North Luzon, while emphasizing that “there’s a lot to be done for Clark’s potential to be unleashed.”

“President Aquino’s word will send a strong signal about the government’s intention on Clark that in the past has been obscured by competing political and business interest. The President’s statement will stimulate initiatives in tourism, business sector, also including infrastructure and transportation,” he said.

Guiao pointed out that another important concern is the release of P7.2 billion which have been committed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for the construction of an airport terminal.

“I hope that the terminal will be completed before the term of President Aquino ends,” said Guiao, adding DOTC Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya has confirmed the budget needed for the terminal’s construction.

Furthered Guiao: “Clark must be included in the first phase of government’s projected mass railway system as a replacement to the North Rail project which is supposed to commence construction in 2015. Clark stakeholders were disappointed to learn from the DOTC that the project will only be included in year 2030, a delay they can’t afford.”

In can be recalled that Guiao hosted the “Clark Challenge: Stakeholders’ Summit” at the Freeport recently, where government and civic leaders, including businessmen and the private sector, converged to come up with a roadmap for Clark’s development.

“The ball is now in your hands, Mr. President. As a professional basketball coach, I would compare Clark to a basketball player who has very limited playing time. That player has been practicing daily and developed the stamina to play. He is eager to contribute to the team’s success. The only thing now is the chance to prove his worth. And I hope that chance is given to Clark,” Guiao said. (Kristine Venet Q. Andal)