PGKM urges Guiao Push for CIA authority

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    CLARK FREEPORT – Instead of practically begging for more flights at the Clark airport, Pampanga 1st District Rep.   Joseller Guiao would do much better if he pushed harder for the conversion  of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) into an authority.

    So the Pinoy Gumising  Ka Movement urged Guiao in the wake of reports  rising out of  last  week’s hearing here of  the technical working group of the House committee  on transportation which he    presided.  Guiao asked the Civil Aeronautics Board  (CAB) to grant the Clark International Airport  (CIA) landing  rights and  at the same time influence  airlines to transfer some of their flights  here.

    “If only the DOTC  (Department  of Transportation  and Communications), CAB and CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority  of the Philippines) can  influence the airlines, the  government can help out CIAC to have additional  flights here,” said Guiao.But the PGKM observed that “the CIA  is not exactly wanting in landing rights as in  the utilization of those rights.” 

    It can be recalled, the  PGKM said, that during  the “long incumbency of (Victor Jose) Luciano at the CIAC, landing rights  acquired through   air talks with different countries were proclaimed as major accomplishments.” “The problem is in the translation of those  rights to actual flights,” the PGKM added. “As  well as in keeping those flights at Clark fromleaving.”

    The PGKM citing as examples AirAsia Phil,  Emirates and Tiger Airways Philippines that have all moved out   of  Clark after initially hubbing here. During Guiao’s committee hearing, CAB representative Atty. Wyrlou Samodio disclosed  that Clark had the second biggest number of entitlements in terms of flights and seats, after the Ninoy  Aquino International Airport.  Samodio hastened though that in the utilisation  of traffic rights, more airlines tapped the   Mactan-Cebu International  Airport than the CIA.

    Autonomy
    To the PGKM, Clark  “as it is,” meaning, managed  by the CIAC which is under the control of the  Department of   Transportation  and Communications, “can never reach  its full potentials to be premier international  gateway.”

    “What   Clark needs is greater autonomy tocarve its own future,”  said PGKM Chairman Ruperto Cruz, even as  he   reminded Guiao of  his proposal – “right on  Day One of his term as congressman” – to convert  the CIAC into and      authority.

    Reports showed that Guiao’s proposed measure converting the CIAC into an authority and  naming it and     the airport after the late President Corazon Aquino embodied as House Bill No. 321 was approved by  the joint           ommittees on transportation, and on government enterprises  and privatization on Feb. 19 this year. 

    HB 321 sought to  convert the CIAC into  the Corazon C. Aquino International Airport  Authority because the CIAC was “hampered by inadequate powers and functions to operate and  manage the Clark Civil Aviation Complex and the Clark International Airport.” 

    In the explanatory notes, Guiao said there  was a need to establish a “more stable and streamlined authority  with expanded capabilities”  as Clark was “envisioned to be the Philippines’  next premier    international airport” amid the congestion at the NAIA. Guiao was quoted in  a subsequent news reports as saying: “A   technical working group has been formed to fine-tune  the bill.”

    “It has been 10 months since, so what happened  to that bill?” Cruz asked, even as he expressed apprehension that it could have been  “unceremoniously archived for   keeps.”

    Sabotage
    “We know, as much as the Imperial Dragons  of Manila that freed from the chains of the DOTC and (Secretary    Joseph Emilio) Abaya’s  Cavite-centered interests, a Clark airport managed by an authority  of its own can shift the   epicenter of the aviation  game in the country,” Cruz said. 

    “Hence, it is not farfetched to think of Manila  vested  interest groups to be sabotaging  again this move toward  that direction,” he added. “We hope that Guiao‘s cause for   a  Clark authority has not been, and will not be, compromised by any interest,  political or otherwise.” Guiao is a member  of the Liberal Party with Abaya as president.   

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