Pampanga execs want Clark airport named again after GMA father
ANGELES CITY—The city council wants Clark International Airport (CRK) at nearby Clark Freeport to be named again after Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s late father, President Diosdado Macapagal.
Voting unanimously on Aug. 7, the council approved a resolution requesting President Duterte to again call CRK the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA).
They made the move shortly after Arroyo, the congresswoman representing Pampanga’s 2nd district, took over the House leadership by unseating Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez in a stunning power play that delayed Mr. Duterte’s State of the Nation Address for more than an hour on July 23.
Clark Development Corp. (CDC), which oversees the 2,350-hectare Clark Freeport, first referred to the airport as DMIA in 2001 to honor Macapagal, known as the poor boy from Lubao town who became a lawyer, diplomat, congressman, Vice President and President of the country. Arroyo, who served as President from 2001 to 2010, is his youngest daughter.
In naming the Clark airport after Macapagal, a CDC board resolution carried a condition: the name DMIA was subject to required legislation. No lawmaker, however, worked on this requirement throughout Arroyo’s term which ended in June 2010.
In 2012, then CDC president, Felipe Antonio Remollo, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III, officially renamed the airport as CRK to be able to “make a distinct brand for Clark internationally and make the airport happen.”
“The name has to be reverted back to DMIA in honor of the first Kapampangan President. Naming the airport after him is an exercise of patrimony,” said Councilor Edu Pamintuan, who sponsored the resolution, as well as another that would ask Congress to pass a law making DMIA the official name of the airport.
“Retaining the name of DMIA is in keeping with the revised guidelines of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, specifically stating that the ‘proposed names must have historical and cultural significance and must contribute to the positive development of national pride through the proposed good example exhibited by the name being used,’” the council said in the resolution.
Former US air base
CRK was developed from the airport that had served the Military Airlift Command of the United States’ 13th Air Force in the former Clark Air Base since World War II.
The American military base was named after Maj. Harold Clark, an aviator who was raised in Manila and who died in a crash in Panama.
The Bases Conversion and Development Authority Act (Republic Act No. 7227) converted the former Clark Air Base for civilian and economic use after the extension of the 1947 Military Bases Agreement was rejected by the Senate in 1991.
In 1994, then President Fidel Ramos formed the Clark International Airport Corp. (Ciac) as a subsidiary of the CDC to manage the Clark Civil Aviation Complex.
The Ciac and CDC boards have no resolutions naming the former military airport as CRK. Ramos did not issue any executive order on what the airport should be called, although the name “Clark” stuck. TONETTE OREJAS
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