Clark airport naming feud taken to Congress
CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines—An ally of detained former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo admitted her camp failed to pursue a law that would have named the Clark airport after her father, as the naming feud is taken to Congress.
Alex Cauguiran, executive vice president of the state-owned Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) until 2010, pointed this out in a briefing called on March 3 by the Pampanga Mayors League (PML).
The PML opposed the Oct. 14, 2011, board resolution to revert to the use of Clark International Airport (CIA), instead of calling the air facility the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA).
Resolution No. 07-08 series of 2001, which was issued in July 2001 by the CIAC board, christened the airport as DMIA although it states that the act was “subject to required legislation.”
It was the Mabalacat municipal board that mounted the campaign to rename the CIA in 2001.
The name reversion to CIA was initiated by lawyer Felipe Antonio Remollo, president of the Clark Development Corp. and vice chairman of the CIAC, to be able to “make a distinct brand for Clark internationally and make the airport happen.”
Last week, the Angeles City Council passed a resolution asking Congress to enact a law officially naming the CIA as DMIA.
None of the four legislators in Pampanga, including Arroyo, have supported the council’s lobby efforts at press time.
The debate over the change of name broke out after Victor Jose Luciano, CIAC president and chief executive officer, announced the plan when he discussed new marketing outlooks for the 2,500-hectare airport.
“It was presumed perhaps then that DMIA was legislated or permanent. Nobody did [their] research, sad to say,” Cauguiran said in an interview Sunday.
In tackling the failure to legislate the DMIA name, he said: “My goodness. It was a great [error, overlooking the prescription of the CIAC board to pursue a bill to rename the airport, which was committed] by everybody concerned,” he said. Cauguiran did not identify the people who were responsible for bringing the matter before Congress.
He said naming or renaming public places, particularly national government properties, require an act of Congress, citing the guidelines of Republic Act No. 10086 (the National Historical Commission of the Philippines Act).
Remollo said the reversion to the use of CIA was a “collegial, unanimous decision” by the CIAC board.
The board, however, named Terminal 1 after Diosdado Macapagal, the country’s ninth President, a Kapampangan from Lubao, Pampanga.
“There’s nothing political [in the name change]. The airport is not only a gem for Central Luzon but for the country as well. So the ownership is by everybody and we have been consulting stakeholders. Let’s debate later and take out politics from the debate,” Remollo said.—Tonette Orejas