Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, October 05, 2009

Make DMIA country’s premier airport–civic group

Cites NAIA closure at height of tropical storm ‘Ondoy’

CLARK FREEPORT: A civic group has urged the government to fast track the development of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here, saying the recent onslaught of tropical storm Ondoy (international codename: Ketsana) proved the soundness of making the facility as the country’s premier international gateway.

Manila-bound flights were diverted to the DMIA after Ondoy’s heavy rains flooded portions of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded as more than 10 international and domestic flights were canceled.

On Friday, airlines also canceled more flights in anticipation of tropical storm Pepeng (international codename: Parma).

The floods that hit Parañaque and Pasay City also made it difficult for passengers to get to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“What happened at NAIA with the onslaught of Ondoy should be a wake up call to the government to start vigorously pursuing the [designation of the] DMIA as [the country’s] premier airport,” Ruperto Cruz, chairman of the Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM), said.

“There was also the . . . failure of the NAIA radar system on September 12, [which also pointed] to the inadequacy of that airport to fully serve as the main gateway,” Cruz said.
He said “these NAIA incidents” would not happen at the DMIA, with its “all-weather” facilities.

“No way that flooding could hit the DMIA with its elevated location. No way then for water-borne debris to scatter anywhere near its runways or instrument facilities as did happen at NAIA,” Cruz added.
The DMIA, Cruz said, has greater accessibility from various points with the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) merging with the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

“Even if the old Manila North Road is flooded, the DMIA can be accessed trouble-free via the SCTEx and the NLEx,” Cruz added.

The PKGM, which has long advocated the “full operationalization” of the DMIA, urged the Clark International Airport Corp. to “walk its talk of making, for real, the DMIA the premier international gateway of the country.”

“Ondoy is an adversity for NAIA turned opportunity for the DMIA,” Cruz said. “The CIAC should take this as an impetus to work fast, and harder. It can start by finally awarding the contract for the long-delayed Terminal 2 project.” Joey Aguilar - Manila Times

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