ANGELES CITY – A sublime intention reduced to ridiculous obsequiousness. The bill renaming the Clark International Airport (CIA) into the Cory C. Aquino International Airport Authority (CCAIAA) is nothing but an attempt to bootlick President Aquino.
Thus said the Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM), an advocacy group that has been calling for the immediate and full development of the CIA since the early 1990s, in reaction to1st District Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao’s House Bill No. 321 which, according to published reports, has passed the committee level in the Lower House.
“If we are into a name game for the Clark airport, why not opt for Jose Abad Santos, who is a Kapampangan and the greatest Filipino martyr in World War II?” PGKM Chair Ruperto Cruz asked.
“We have nothing against Cory, as a matter of fact we admired and respected her, but when PNoy is no longer president, what will deter some other bootlicking congressman from moving to change the name of the airport?
Maybe after Binay’s father if he becomes president,” Cruz said. “Or if Bongbong (Marcos) becomes president, God forbid, would we have a Ferdinand Marcos International Airport?” Cruz furthered.
It can be recalled that during the time of President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, the Clark airport sported the name Diosdado Macapagal International Airport or DMIA. But because of the slow paced development, the PGKM branded the DMIA then as “Di Matuloy-tuloy na International Airport,“ even “Di Maipagmamalaking International Airport” and “Dead Macapagal International Airport.”
“Nagpapasipsip lang si Guiao kay Presidente (Guiao is just bootlicking the President),” Cruz observed.
Said Cruz: “Clark can stand on its own merits as the premier international gateway of the country, with its some 2,500-hectare aviation area, its US-military standard runways that accommodated the biggest military aircraft in the world, its strategic location and its elevation which makes floods, moreso, storm surges and tidal waves impossible occurrences.”
“It is all question of political will,” Cruz said, ruing that Guiao saw the answer in “bootlicking.” “If Guiao is sincere, he should first convince the Department of Transportation and Communications which oversees the CIA, to bare definitive plans for the immediate and full development of the CIA,” said Cruz.
The PGKM chair noted that the DOTC under then Secretary Mar Roxas “grossly undermined” the development of the CIA and even now under Secretary Joseph Abaya who is a “known Roxas lackey.”
A worker at the then US Air Force’s Clark Air Base suspected that Roxas could be harboring ill-feelings towards Clark because it was where his grandfather, President Manuel Roxas, died. President Roxas was in the midst of a speech before the US 13th Air and died on April 15, 1948.
The former base worker said stories at that time narrated how the base workers in Clark and in the other US facilities in Subic, Sangley, Poro Point and John Hay were lambasting President Roxas for allegedly ordering the payment of workers from US dollars to Philippine pesos.
“The subsequent devaluation of the peso against the dollar which reduced the base workers income caused a lot of animosity against Roxas,” said the former Clark worker.
The PGKM clarified that it fully supports the plan to make the CIA into an authority or as an independent body which can plot its own course as the country’s premier international gateway. “It takes more than a name change, it does not even begin from there, to make that authority working,” Cruz
said, even as he asked the structural organization, functions and responsibilities, as well as limitations of the Guiao’s proposed CCAIAA. “If the meat of Guiao’s proposal for the Clark airport is his monologue at his so-called Clark Challenge summit last month, then there is really no chance for the Clark airport,” Cruz said.
In the Clark Challenge: Stakeholders’ Summit held last January, Guiao appealed for a policy statement from President Aquino on the development of Clark and followed this up with a privilege speech in Congress, using his very same keynote address at the summit.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma’s single statement in the media that Malacanang held the development of Clark of Clark as a priority was hailed by Guiao and the business sector of the City of San Fernando as the “policy statement” of the President.
“A press release for a policy statement, only a fawning sycophant could fall for that line,” Cruz said. “How can Clark be a priority for development when Abaya, and by extension Roxas, is serving as a mouthpiece for new premier airport plans in Sangley Point or in Bulacan?”
Abaya last year announced a foreign-local consortium named All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. submitted letters of intent to the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Philippine Reclamation Authority, headed by Abaya’s brother, Peter Anthony, to undertake the twin projects for Sangley’s re-development into an airport – already named Aquino-Sangley International Airport, and a seaport – already
named too as Aguinaldo- Sangley International Seaport.
San Miguel Corp.’s Ramon Ang who is also with Philippine Air Lines has also made public his group’s interest to build a new international airport in Bulacan.