By Ellson Quismorio
The temporary shutdown of the Clark International Airport following Monday’s strong earthquake in Luzon will have little effect on tourism, and the economy as a whole.
Thus, said Quezon City 2nd district Rep. Winston Castelo even as he noted Wednesday that the Pampanga airport was already back in business.
“Not really (there wasn’t much impact on tourism and the economy),” Castelo, chairman of the House Committee Metro Manila Development, said.
It can be recalled that Monday’s magnitude 6.1 earthquake, which had significant effect over parts of Pampanga, caused the ceiling of Clark International Airport’s check-in area to cave in. This resulted to an airport shutdown that lasted nearly 48 hours.
“The structural defect is minor. In fact, most of the flights now are back in operation,” noted Castelo.
“Besides, the major gateway to the country is NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport),” the three-term congressman pointed out.
Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Art Tugade bared during a post-quake inspection at Clark airport that the damage was worth P30 million. He said two x-ray machines sustained damage, but it was only minimal.
This notwithstanding, Castelo said that a House probe on earthquake-related damage to infrastructure was still possible.
“We will wait for the audit report of government buildings. If there is evidence that the defect was based on substandard materials and engineering lapses, we will call for a hearing,” the House member said.
Castelo said that the Metro Manila Development Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council should undertake such comprehensive audit.
“It is imperative that we immediately determine which buildings in our midst are in danger of falling when we’re hit by an earthquake because they are definitely places of deadly accidents waiting to happen,” he pointed out.