Beyond 2010

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    There is no doubt about it. Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) President Victor Jose “Chichos” Luciano is the right man for the Diosdado Macapagal Airport. In just a few years, he was able to lead his team into a series of good talks, journeys and deals all over the world. And yes, there earned several air entitlements and generated several invetsments and flights for DMIA.

    Just recently, Luciano and a couple of CIAC officers sealed yet another victory in the comfort of the overseas Filipino workers. Luciano’s team met hundreds of OFWS in Hong Kong and easily got their nod and support for DMIA.

    The Bayanihan Kennedy Town Center was packed with our kababayans on August 30. With their carrying theme “Para sa Iyo, Ang Airport na Ito,” probably an adaptation of the lines of the great boxer Manny Pacquiao, the CIAC team immediately won the hearts of the OFWs.

    It was the first ever international roadshow of CIAC. Luciano said the roadshow is an opportunity for them to inform the people that there is an airport right at their doorsteps that can bring them to various Southeast Asian countries for business or employment.

    “And in the case of our OFWs, most of which come from the Northern Philippines, the frequent and low-cost flights at the DMIA mean they can come home more frequently and economically,” Luciano stressed.

    Luciano was very overwhelmed with the OFWs warmth and support. He did expect it. But Luciano deserves such acceptance for he is a man of many surprises too. When he visited Baguio City, he immediately read the minds of the people of the North. An intelligent and rational man, he was very quick to say that CIAC and DMIA will help Loakan Airport find its way for improvement and development.

    And recently speaking with the OFWs, he pointed out the advantages of DMIA as compared to other gateways in the Philippines. Its proximity and accessibility are its foremost advantages. On top of this, DMIA already hosts foreign and local carriers that include Air Asia of Malaysia, Tiger Airways of Singapore, South Korea’s Asiana Airlines and local carriers Cebu Pacific Air, the country’s leading domestic carrier, and South East Asian Airlines (Seair). Cebu Pacific Air is an unfailing supporter of the promotion efforts for the DMIA, its fourth hub in the country. The country’s leading domestic airline has been present in all the CIAC’s roadshow activities in Luzon and has raffled off free roundtrip tickets to ASEAN destinations to promote their flights at the DMIA and the airport.

    Meanwhile, Zest Air, a new local carrier, will start its Clark-HK-Clark route on September 21 while Spirit of Manila Airlines (SOMA) is also expected to start operations from the DMIA soon.

    According to Luciano, ‘the expected increase in flights is adding to the popularity of the airport and is boosting its viability as the country’s premier airport which is in line with President Arroyo’s declaration of the DMIA as the country’s next premier international airport and best logistics and services hub in the Asia Pacific Region.”

    Luciano is indeed a man ahead of his time. A visionary, he was able to stir excitement at the DMIA and all over the country. The tourism roadshows of CIAC are actually gaining confidence for the airport. The more people learning abaout what DMIA and Clark can offer, the better chances we have in  promoting the metro Central Luzon aerotropolis.

    During an earlier talk with DOT Region 1 Dir. Manny Valera, he said Central Luzon, especially Clark is the heart of Luzon and there is no doubt that in the next few years, tourism will increase. Clark, he said, is the best jump off going to the South and the North. Valera added that the airport is likewise the center of all of these activities.

    So there is no doubt. Again, Luciano is moving towards the right direction. I just hope that he could encourage the local government units and the national government as well to build more architectural wonders and other man-made destinations so as to atarct more tourists.

    Although, I know the man cannot do it all but he has the charisma and the credibility to push for something big such as these. For example, we need to build a huge Pinatubo memorial Center that would relive the eruption, the Pinatubo disaster and its impact to the world, the history that followed, the people affected by the disaster and how we rebuilt our dreams and our lives. Just like the Holocaust memorial, there should be an edifice or a center, with a state-of-the-art gallery, ampitheater, and all the works that would become a top tourist destination in Central Luzon.

    Mt. Pinatubo will not erupt in another 600 years or more, therefore we are building not for our generation but for the rest of the generations to follow.

    Another suggestion which I first got from Ninong Ding Cervantes is a giant tower of angel that could be erected in the middle of Astro Park or inside Clark. The monument should be gigantic because size matters and the story behind the construction is another attraction. These are just crazy ideas but who knows, someday you will find out that they are what we need to contain more tourists in our region.

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