Gordon, Romualdez: Use Subic, Clark airports
MANILA, Philippines – With flight cancellations due to the high-profile Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, senatorial candidates Richard "Dick" Gordon and Martin Romualdez suggested that the public start maximizing the use of the Subic Bay and Clark international airports.
“Why not use Clark and Subic airports now and for always? Fedex had regular night and day flights of 747s and Airbus cargo planes from Subic for several years. Clark is only one and a half [hours] away and Subic is two hours away from Manila. Traffic from Manila airport usually takes that long to Quezon City anyway,” said former senator Gordon in a Facebook post on Friday, November 13.
According to Gordon, the flight delays and cancellations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) because of the APEC summit “terribly inconvenienced” thousands of passengers, as well as disrupted work and business resulting in “many millions lost in the economy.”
Leyte district representative Romualdez aired the same sentiment during a pandesal forum held at the Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City on Friday.
“Bakit hindi natin ginagamit ‘yung Clark? Unang-una, mas maganda at mas malaki ang facility kesa [sa] NAIA,” Romualdez said.
(Why don't we use Clark airport? First, it has better facilities than NAIA.)
“Pangalawa, hindi na-a-agrabyado ang riding public sa aviation industry. Meron kang back-up airport [na] ang tawag ay Subic International Airport that hosted the APEC [summit] several years ago successfully. So bakit naman nagsisiksikan tayo rito? Ang sikip-sikip na nga rito,” he added.
(Second, the riding public of the aviation industry will not be inconvenienced. We have a back-up airport called the Subic International Airport that hosted the APEC meetings several years ago. Why are we forcing ourselves here in the city? It's too congested here already.)
I understand the gravity of the Philippines hosting the #APEC Summit, pero ang malungkot po ay madi-displace sigurado ang mga ordinaryong mamamayang lalapag sa #NAIA dahil dito. Kabilang na rito ang maraming mga #OFW na sabik nang makasama ang mga mahal nila sa buhay, whose #flights are liable to get canceled. While #malasakit for the safety of visiting world leaders is paramount, huwag naman po sanang gawin ito at the expense of the common Filipino. I highly suggest utilizing the #ClarkInternationalAirport to prevent such disruptions in the lives of our returning countrymen. #APEC2015
From Romualdez's Instagram account
Both Gordon and Romualdez are eyeing seats in the Senate for 2016. Romualdez is a guest candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) while Gordon is running under UNA and the Poe-Escudero tandem.
Maximize Clark, Subic airports
Recruitment specialist Emmanuel Geslani had previously advised overseas Filipinos, particularly those working abroad, to either arrive ahead or after the APEC meetings. (READ: Cancelled flights due to APEC meetings in November)
He also suggested passengers who still want to leave or arrive in the country during the APEC summit to make use of Clark because the airport is not affected by the flight delays or cancellations anyway. (READ: PAL cancels additional flights due to APEC Manila)
In April, Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) President and CEO Emigdio Tanjuatco III said the gateway could serve as an alternate airport to the congested NAIA.
Tanjuatco said that there are no traffic congestion and flight delays at the Clark International Airport because low cost carriers and full service airlines arrive on time or even earlier. (READ: Hate flight delays, cancellations? Take Clark International Airport)
Veterans Bank chairman and former Finance secretary Roberto De Ocampo said in October last year that NAIA was an accident waiting to happen because it does not have the required land area in the first place, yet government insisted on building it in its present location.
Clark has first-class runways waiting to be fully utilized, De Ocampo said. (READ: Remember the Love Bus? Might be time to have it back)
From Gordon's official Facebook page
Gordon said that more passengers opting to use the airports in Subic and Clark instead of NAIA will “boost” the economies of Central and Northern Luzon.
He said connecting commuter aircraft operations bound for Baguio, La Union, Ilocos, Cagayan, and Isabela airports can be developed to “allow passengers choices and eventually lead to cheaper tickets and boost the economies of these areas.”
“For too long, the government has wasted the economic impact by Subic and Clark airports as well as Subic's sea port to generate opportunities in jobs and investments to Luzon by its failure to maximize these major infrastructure assets,” Gordon said.
He added that the notorious traffic congestion in Metro Manila, as well as any possible "urban mass casualty disasters" could be avoided if other airports in the country – not only NAIA – are fully utilized.
“Factories and business establishments and homes could move to either side of empty lands along NLEX, SCTEX, and create a super pump primed economy where speed and choice in opportunities matter,” Gordon said. – Rappler.com