DOTC chief hit for Ďabject failureí at NAIA, CIA
ANGELES CITY – A Central Luzon-based advocacy group has called for the resignation of Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas, who was chided for his alleged “abject failure” to deal with problems facing major airports in the country.
Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM) Chair Ruperto Cruz called for Roxas’s resignation after the DOTC chief announced in various media reports that the government may force airlines to reduce their flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to ease congestion that has caused delays in air travel.
“You don’t need a rocket scientist to see the solution to these problems,” Cruz said.
The PGKM chair stressed that Clark is the obvious solution to the compounded issues hounding NAIA “but it is obvious that Roxas is utterly blind to Clark and its airport facilities.”
Media reports quoted Roxas as saying the government is still convincing airline executives to “cut their flights voluntarily, before we bring the heavy hand of government down on them…If they don’t do it voluntarily, government will force them to stop excess flights.”
“If that is the case,” Cruz noted “then the DOTC is the one to be blamed for the deliberate sabotage of the economy and death of the country’s tourism industry.”
Cruz pointed out that Roxas proposal to reduce flights ran against the “express goal of the government, as articulated by the Department of Tourism to bring in as much as 10 million tourists by 2016.”
“What leader is this who would rather prefer the stunted growth or worse, even kill the country’s economy and tourism industry than develop the Clark International Airport, which is the best alternative to the now-congested NAIA,” asked Cruz of Roxas.
“If Mr. Roxas cannot find a solution to a simple problem, then what more can we expect from him at the helm of the transportation department,” Cruz said.
“If he is not fit to run the DOTC then he is, likewise, unqualified to run as senator moreso as president of the Philippines,” he added, referring to rumors that Roxas is eyeing either a seat in the Senate or the presidency in the 2016 polls.
Cruz said that the PGKM “refuses to believe rumors that Roxas is priming up for his bid for either the presidency or even the senate but his inconsistent statements tells us otherwise.”
He added: “He is even being criticized for seemingly serving the interests of influential personalities in Imperial Manila to pursue his political ambitions.”
Earlier, Roxas announced that the government will develop the international airport inside the Clark Freeport.
However, media reports quoted Roxas last week saying that the development of Clark will still face further delays since the government has yet to thresh out “anomalies” in the deal between the administration of former Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Chinese engineers on the NorthRail Project.
But Cruz criticized Roxas for using the NorthRail issue as an excuse to backtrack from his previous pronouncements. The PGKM chair reiterated his support to the railway project and airport development bid proposed by businessman Manny Pangilinan.
“Manny Pangilinan’s proposal is by far the best solution to NAIA’s problems and yet Secretary Roxas refuses to acknowledge this,” said Cruz.
Good money down the drain
“It seems there really is an effort to quash any bid that could develop Clark as an international gateway to the world. All these inconsistent statements of Mr. Roxas only add more fuel to suspicions of a conspiracy to seal the fate of the Clark airport.”
Cruz noted that the government will only pour “good money down the drain” if it pursues its bid to develop NAIA instead of the international airport at Clark.
“For one, there’s no way for any expansion of NAIA’ single runway, with the whole 600 hectares already constricted, bounded as it is by the South Luzon Expressway and the housing areas like the Multi-national Village,” Cruz said.
“Then, there is Metro Manila is in clear and present danger of the worst effects of global warming? Floodings, as they are now, have many times paralyzed all traffic in the metropolis, catching NAIA in a gridlock.”
“On the other side, there is Clark with its 2,500-hectare aviation area, some 70 degrees above sea level. But Roxas refuses to see this. So, what interest is he in pursuit of? Definitely not the people’s,” Cruz charged.
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