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Grace Poe pushes ‘full use’ of Clark airport

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Grace Poe pushes ‘full use’ of Clark airport

/ 12:05 AM February 02, 2016
THE CLARK International Airport in Pampanga, a former facility of the United States’ 13th Air Force, is seen as an alternative to  Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila.      TONETTE T. OREJAS/INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON

THE CLARK International Airport in Pampanga, a former facility of the United States’ 13th Air Force, is seen as an alternative to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila. TONETTE T. OREJAS/INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON

ANGELES CITY—Presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe on Friday said she wants to be instrumental in the “full utilization” of the Clark International Airport (CRK) at the nearby Clark Freeport, should she win in the May 9 elections.

“If the only obstacle is the lack of a presidential policy, I see no problem issuing one,” Poe said in response to a clamor of Move Clark Now, a lobby group represented by Alex Cauguiran, former executive vice president of the state-owned Clark International Airport Corp.

Poe held a news conference here after guesting in a student event at Angeles University Foundation.

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‘National interest’

“This is not a parochial concern, Madame Senator. This is of national interest. The use of CRK can help decongest Metro Manila, ease the severe traffic there and spur countryside development,” Cauguiran said.

But Poe said CRK needs a railway system that would connect the four regions and Metro Manila. Her running mate, Sen. Chiz Escudero, said CRK could serve as departure and arrival point for foreign trips and state visits.

Cauguiran had criticized Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for pushing for the construction of a new airport at Sangley Point in Cavite province.

But he later clarified that Move Clark Now was not asking government to close Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

Northern airport

“We are urging the government that for residents north of Manila, Clark will be [the primary airport],” he said.

The Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Luzon and Cordillera regions have about 30 million residents, and around five million of them work abroad.

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Poe was not the only presidential candidate who has expressed a stand on CRK. Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas said the Sangley airport plan was not doable, pushing instead for CRK and the necessity of providing it support infrastructure such as a rapid railway system, a bigger passenger terminal and better road networks. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he agrees with people who want to make CRK the leading airport. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Clark International Airport, Elections 2016, Grace Poe, news, Regions
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