Bill would name Clark airport after Cory Aquino

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A measure converting Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) into an authority and naming it and the airport (in photo) after the late President Corazon Aquino has passed the committee level in the House of Representatives. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines—What’s in a name? Plenty, if it happens to be Macapagal.

A measure converting Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) into an authority and naming it and the airport after the late President Corazon Aquino has passed the committee level in the House of Representatives.

Pampanga Rep. Joseller Guiao said the joint committee on transportation, and on government enterprises and privatization, approved House Bill No. 321 on Feb. 19.

“A technical working group has been formed to fine-tune the bill,” said Guiao when asked for an update on Saturday.

The approval came almost eight months after Guiao filed the bill on July 1, 2013.

The bill seeks to change the CIAC to the Corazon C. Aquino International Airport Authority (CCAIAA) because the CIAC was “hampered by inadequate powers and functions to operate and manage the Clark Civil Aviation Complex and the Clark International Airport (CRK).”

Guiao said there was a need to establish a “more stable and streamlined authority with expanded capabilities” because the CRK was “envisioned to be the Philippines’ next premier international airport” amid the congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila.

The Naia was named after Mrs. Aquino’s husband, Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., who was assassinated at the Manila International Airport in 1983 as he was being led out of the plane that had brought him home from exile in the United States.

Mrs. Aquino assumed the presidency after strongman Ferdinand Marcos was ousted through People Power in February 1986.

The Aquinos’ only son, Benigno III, is now the President, having been elected in 2010.

Guiao did not say in the explanatory note why the authority and the airport should both bear the name of Mrs. Aquino.

This would appear to cast aside demands in Angeles City to restore the name of the late President Diosdado Macapagal to the Clark airport facade. The airport used to be called the Diosdado Macapagal International  Airport until it reverted to its original name Clark International Airport in 2012.

Allies of detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Macapagal’s daughter, have not filed a bill to return her father’s name to the airport.

The conversion of former United States military bases, like Clark, to civilian use began during the term of Mrs. Aquino after she signed Republic Act No. 7227, or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992.

This law created the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Subic Special Economic Zone, and the special economic zones in Clark, San Fernando City in La Union, and Camp John Hay in Baguio City.

Created by Executive Order No. 192 in July 1994, the CIAC was made a subsidiary several times of either the BCDA or Clark Development Corp. President Benigno Aquino III later placed it under the Department of Transportation and Communications.

HB No. 321 proposes to give the CCAIAA jurisdiction over the 2,200-hectare Clark Civil Aviation Complex and 167 ha of the Clark Industrial Estate 5.

It will be given power to “undertake the economical, efficient and effective control, management and supervision of the complex.”

The bill would give investors the incentive of remitting only five percent of their gross income to the government.

Originally posted: 8:31 pm | Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

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