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Name dropping

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CIA. DMIA. The name game is in play again.

Just this Tuesday, Aug. 7, the Angeles City sangguniang panlungsod passed twin resolutions toward the same intent – the Clark airport be (re)named after the first Macapagal president.

Resolution No. 8, S-2018 (PR 804-08-18) requesting President Duterte “to revert the name of Clark International Airport to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.

Among its whereases: “Since 2003 the airport was named DMIA in honor of the past President of the Philippines…until it was change (sic) to CIA in 2012…

…To avoid confusion and to maintain the tribute given to the late President, it is requested that President Duterte change the name of the airport from CIA to DMIA.”

Resolution No. 8, S-2018 (PR 805-08- 18) “enjoining” members of the House of Representatives and the Senate “to enact into law the official naming” of the CIA to DMIA.

Among its whereases: “Through this resolution, the Angelenos hereby express their disapproval of the decision by the Clark International Airport Corp. to rename DMIA to CIA.”

Revert. Rename. Operative but essentially conflicted words in the city council resolution there. Prompting the eternal chicken-or-egg conundrum.

To revert CIA to DMIA means the latter came first. Did it?

Not if we go by the airport’s history, its most recent at least.

The term “Clark International Airport” made its debut in Executive Order No. 192 issued by President Fidel Ramos on July 27, 1994 creating the Clark International Airport Corp. This in effect kept to the airport’s international aviation code CRK.

Contrary to the city council resolution, it was not “since 2003” that the airport carried the DMIA name.

In 2001 during the incumbency of Dr. Emmanuel Y. Angeles, the Clark Development Corp. Board passed Resolution No. 07-08 stating thus:

“RESOLVED THAT, Management’s recommendation to rename Clark International Airport to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in honor of the late President Diosdado Macapagal, be APPROVED, as it is hereby APPROVED, subject to required legislation.”

However, Angeles’ board and all succeeding boards through his successors at the CDC within the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – Tony Ng, Levy Laus, and Benny Ricafort – all failed to effect the “required legislation” for the DMIA – be it an act of Congress or a presidential executive order.

The airport though carried the name DMIA just the same.

On October 14, 2011, the CIAC Board – with acting chair CDC president Felipe Antonio Remollo – approved Resolution No. SM-10-05, Series of 2011 that:

“RESOLVED THAT, the restoration of the name ‘Clark International Airport (CIA)’ to refer to the Clark Aviation Complex within the Clark Freeport Zone to enhance its international acceptance and to preserve its historical significance, be APPROVED, as it is hereby APPROVED.

“RESOLVED FURTHER THAT, Terminal 1 will be named as DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL TERMINAL (DMT) in recognition of the legacy of former President Diosdado P. Macapagal as the first Kapampangan to become the (sic) President of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Rationalized CIAC president-CEO Victor Jose Luciano then: “We will project Clark as Clark, including its history.”

Cauguiran’s dare

In early 2012 at a forum among local government units and the freeport and airport officials, Alexander Sangalang Cauguiran – not yet the CIAC EVP then, if memory still serves right – stood to question that history and champion the DMIA cause, thus:

“Let us rise from the last vestiges of our colonial past…How can an American pilot who died in a plane crash in Panama in 1919 supersede the greatness of President Diosdado Macapagal, the father of land reform, the emancipator of the peasants from the bondage of the soil?

“Downgrading the name Diosdado Macapagal is against the guidelines of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines pursuant to RA 10086 that strictly forbids the renaming of public places already named after presidents to people of lesser importance.

“You spoke of international acceptance, of the popularity of Clark over DMIA, using the analogy of Bangkok better known than Suvarnabhumi, of Hongkong preferred over Chek Lap Kok, of the practice in Asia of naming airports after their location rather than people, as in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

“You spoke of the naming of airports after people as practiced more in the West, as in JFK and La Guardia in New York, as in Ronald Reagan in Washington D.C.

“I could not care less however way they name their airports, that is their prerogative. But naming our airport is also our prerogative, following our own laws and guidelines.”

Now, if only the city council resolutions have even but a quarter of Cauguiran’s passion and reason in impacting the DMIA cause for the airport …But that’s asking too much of them, mired as they are in lapses in grammar and syntax, not to mention typos – Reso No. 8, S-2018 (PR 804-08-18) named the president as one “Rodrigo Roa Dutuerte.”

Pandering

That the city council resolutions came to the fore within two weeks of the ascendancy of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the House speakership beclouds the issue with political pandering.

Far from plain coincidence that the first attempted naming of the Clark airport to DMIA came in 2001, GMA still the fresh whiff of perfumed air in the wake of the banishment of the foul presidency of Erap Estrada.

As it was with GMA as president, so it is with her as Speaker.

To be fair though, this suckering up to the powers-that-are-here-and-now in the matter of the airport name game is non-exclusive to GMA.

In July 2013, midway into the presidency of BS Aquino III, then-1st District Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao filed House Bill No. 321 seeking to rename CIA to Corazon C. Aquino International Airport to “ensure its development as the Philippines’ next premier international airport.”

The twin-airport system between the CIA and NAIA pushed by Guiao himself along with other stakeholders assumed a different configuration with his bill: Cory in Clark, Ninoy in Manila – that is no twinning, it is coupling.

CIA. DMIA. What’s in a name? So long as the flights keep on coming. And going. On time. All the time.

(Source data from acaesar.blogspot.com under the titles Name game (March 2, 2012) and Clark ain’t it (March 3, 2014))

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