By Ben Rosario
With nobody registering an objection, the House of Representatives undid what Kapampangans decried as an insult committed on them by the previous administration.
With 199 affirmative votes from present congressmen during Monday’s plenary session, the Lower House renamed the Clark International Airport in Angeles City as Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in honor of the ninth president of the Philippines who was known as the “poor boy from Lubao.”
With strong endorsement from the Committee on Transportation chaired by Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, the Lower House effectively annulled a resolution adopted by the Clark International Airport ComDevelopment Corporation to revert the airbase to Clark, which was the name given by the US government when it was still in control of the airbase.
Nationalists had renamed Clark into Diosdado Macapagal International Airport but the CDC resolution passed during the Aquino administration in 2011 reverted the airport’s name to Clark, after American pilot, Major Harold Clark.
Alexander Cauguiran, officer-in-charge and acting president of Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), said the CDC decision was met with strong objections from provincial and community leaders of Pampanga
HB 8289 consolidated two separate legislative proposals filed by Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, Jr. Deputy Speaker and Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap and Reps. Aurelio Gonzales (NP, Pampanga) and Carmelo Lazatin II (PDP-Laban, Pampanga).
Authors of the measure justified the bill as a fitting tribute to Macapagal, known for his “sterling legacy and incomparable distinction as a respected leader, champion of the poor, true statesman, and a nationalist of unquestionable integrity.”
The bills also stressed that Clark International Airport is the most viable and convenient airport of choice for travelers from northern and central Luzon and the northern Metro Manila area.
Sarmiento said the transportation committee was fully convinced that the airport be renamed DMIA, saying that this move was endorsed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Pampanga that passed Resolution No. 5124 entitled “A Resolution Urging His Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and both Houses of Congress to Issue a Presidential Proclamation and Appropriate Legislation, Respectively, Reverting or Renaming the Clark International Airport located at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.”
Approval of the bill also drew strong support from the Clark International Airport Corporation.
“To my mind, there was a violation made by the previous Board that is why, we in the present Board corrected it. We timed it on the 108th birthday of our former President. (It’s) Long overdue, but justice finally is on hand,” said Cauguiran.
Former President Macapagal is the father of former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and was considered one of the greatest sons of the province of Pampanga.