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Shape up, Clark International Airport!

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Floro L. Mercene

Floro L. Mercene

By Floro Mercene

 

Those proposing to transfer domestic flight operations from the NAIA to Clark should get a reality check. They should try to take the regular bus service that takes more than 3 hours to negotiate the 100-km distance.

I bet our honorable officials, ensconced in their air-conditioned cars, have never experienced the travails and trauma associated with bus travel to Clark.

The buses are the only means for our lowly overseas Filipino worker (OFW) and the rest of us hoi polloi.

The whole trip from Manila To Dau via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) will take more than three hours.

At the Dau bus station, the OFW will ride a jeep that will deliver them to the entrance to Clark Air Base, where the airport is located.

Here drivers are waiting in ambush of unsuspecting OFW’s and their several pieces of luggage.

The passenger terminal is only a few minutes away but the driver demands P200. “The ride is special,” he says.

Inside the terminal, you would be surprised that it looks exactly like the Manila Domestic Airport in the 1970’s, meaning Third World.

The hot dog stand offers bare hotdogs, without the usual dressing. The alternative is a very expensive fast food nearby – the OFW can’t afford.

Last week, my brother flew to Coron from Clark. He was in Busuanga for five days accompanying a medical and dental mission from California. They visited the remotest barangays – Calauit, Cheey, and Conception. Some 1,000 patients were treated.

He parked his car at Park and Fly, no relation to the P&F at the NAIA that gives world-class service. This one is operated by the CIAC, headed by Alexander Cauguiran.

On his return, he found his car’s battery had become depleted. You would expect that Park and Fly Clark would have a battery on standby to assist its customers? It had none. It had no way to assist you if you had a flat tire.

Park & Fly rakes in about P20,000 per day on a P90 daily rate. Cauguiran knows how to rake in money but he has completely no idea how to provide service to his customers.

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