House body to push Clark airport


    CIAC’s Victor Jose Luciano briefs Reps. Joseller Guiao and Cesar V. Sarmiento during the hearing. PHOTO BY BONG LACSON

    CLARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – To drum up the initiative for the development of this airport, the House committee on transportation held a committee hearing at the boardroom of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) here last Friday.

    “Our goal is to aggressively promote it (Clark airport) for it to live up to its intended purpose,” said its chairman Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento (Catanduanes) at the CIAC boardroom jampacked with various stakeholders and local government officials.

    “In the exercise of the oversight functions of this committee and in preparation for the upcoming budget deliberations of the (Department of Transportation and Communications) on Sept. 2, we would like to also look into the update and issues surrounding the proposed construction of the low cost terminal building, CIAC’s preparation for the 2015 (Asia Pacifi c Economic Conference) summit and the provision of an efficient transportation system to and from Clark airport,” Sarmiento said who sat beside committee members Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao (1st District-Pampanga), Gavini C. Pancho (2nd District- Bulacan), and Noel Villanueva (3rd District- Tarlac).

    “In the coming months and years, we are certain that Clark airport will play a bigger role in ushering tourism and other economic benefits for the benefit of the aviation industry and the country as a whole,” Sarmiento said. “Rest assured that we are here to extend our hand to help you. We are your partners in realizing the full potential of the Clark airport,” he added.

    “We will be convincing agencies to put in their stake in the development of the Clark airport,” he further said. During the hearing, CIAC President-CEO Victor Jose “Chichos” Luciano announced the directive of President Aquino to the DOTC to immediately conduct a feasibility of a “highspeed railway” linking this airport to Metro but declined to give further details saying Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya will be the one to give the details on the project.

    Meanwhile, Guiao described the recent developments including the P1.2 billion fund for this airport in the 2015 national budget as the clearest indications of the President’s intention to bolster the Philippines’ quest to serve as a major Asia-Pacific air transport hub via the speedy upgrading of this airport’s facilities and its annual capacity to the 10-15 million air passengers.

    Guiao noted that the Clark Airport project will be part of the overall government thrust to expand the capacity of the premier Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) with the construction of a new runway, as well as the envisioned construction of a new airport at the former US-operated Sangley naval base in Cavite City.

    Guiao, a prime-mover of the group advocating for Clark with Pampanga Gov. Lilia “Nanay Baby” Pineda and Rep. Oscar Rodriguez (3rd District-Pampanga) said “the intention of the hearing is for the committee to gather facts that could help it prepare and push for new legislations to put the Clark Airport on equal footing with all the other operating international airports in the country.”

    He also said the committee is supporting the passage into law of a bill that he proposed to convert the CIAC, which oversees the management and operations of this airport, into an authority as well as a new bill renaming this airport into the “Corry Aquino International Airport.”

    On the other hand, the planned “high-speed railway” is expected to ride on the route of aborted North Railways project that was also designed to connect Manila to Clark and other industrial- commercial hubs in Central and Northern Luzon.

    “The realization of this transport mode,” Guiao said, “will defi nitely bolster all projects aimed at hastening economic development not only in Central and Northern Luzon but also in the entire country.” 


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