Growth and more growth for Clark

Sun.Star Baguio - - OPINION -

EVEN be­fore the pres­i­dency of Noynoy Aquino and Ro­drigo Duterte, there was al­ready a def­i­nite plan of the na­tional gov­ern­ment to make the Dios­dado Ma­ca­pa­gal In­ter­na­tional Air­port (DMIA) aka Clark In­ter­na­tional Air­port as the in­ter­na­tional gate­way. There was some­thing started dur­ing the watch of for­mer Pres­i­dent Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal Ar­royo, but some­how the plan was stalled due to sev­eral hic­cups, shall I say. The growth of the Freeport, the eco­nomic zone and the much vaunted Clark Green City is an­chored on the full de­vel­op­ment of Clark air­port. The mas­ter plan in­di­cated that.

But some­how it was stalled be­cause for what could be the real rea­son and pos­si­bly only Mr. Ra­mon Ang knows why the news that fil­tered from busi­ness pages of metropoli­tan news­pa­pers was that he pro­posed to build a $10-bil­lion main air gate­way some­where near the for­mer San­g­ley Naval Base, in prox­im­ity of Metro Manila. And an­other one some­where in Bu­la­can prov­ince. A big puz­zle. And big time prop­erty de­vel­op­ers like the Gokong­wei group were also try­ing to part­ner with Mr. Ang. Not to be left be­hind were the Ayala group and the SM group of the Sy fam­ily which also wanted to have a stake. It made Clark In­ter­na­tional Air­port Cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cials ner­vous.

That an­nounced move of Mr. Ang doused cold wa­ter on the ef­fort of mak­ing Clark Air­port as the af­ford­able gate­way. That was few years back. Ang’s plan was tem­po­rar­ily shelved or maybe went to the waste bas­ket, par­tic­u­larly now that the Duterte gov­ern­ment is dead set to make Clark Freeport Zone as “the next big me­trop­o­lis.”

This in con­so­nance with Duterte’s “Build , Build, Build” pro­gram. The news­pa­pers quoted Depart­ment of Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez and was say­ing “Clark will soon be the show­case of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion’s eco­nomic strat­egy.”

For­mer Bases Con­ver­sion De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity pres­i­dents like Nar­ciso Abaya, Ar­nel Casanova and Board Chair­men like Aloy­sius San­tos and Felic­ity “Tong” Payumo and the many for­mer of­fi­cials of this gov­ern­ment agency since it was struc­tured in 1993 were al­ready say­ing and were of the be­lief that an in­ter­na­tional air­port is the growth driver for Cen­tral and North­ern Lu­zon. Duterte’s eco­nomic man­agers are see­ing it through now.

In the many years I am ob­serv­ing the de­vel­op­ments of this once Amer­i­can mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tion cov­er­ing it as a news­man in the six­ties and sev­en­ties, till I be­came a di­rec­tor of Clark De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and Clark In­ter­na­tional Cor­po­ra­tion in 2001 to 2019, I know it will morph into some­thing big, maybe big­ger than Manila me­trop­o­lis. And now it’s go­ing so much ground. There’s no doubt the winds of progress is mov­ing to­wards the Pam­panga and Tarlac di­rec­tion via the Clark Freeport.

Three ex­press­ways, The North Lu­zon Ex­press­way (NLEX), Su­bic-Clark-Tarlac Ex­press­way(SCTEX) and the Tarlac-Pan­gasi­nanLa Union( TIPLEX) un­locked the value of the Cen­tral and North Lu­zon re­gions. And ex­pect­edly, the big play­ers the likes of SM De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion of the Sy fam­ily, the Ayalas, An­drew Tan’s Me­ga­world and Fil­in­vest of the Go­tia­nuns among oth­ers are “al­ready in town”.

Let gov­ern­ment speed up con­struc­tion of the rail­ways now. It should have been done long time ago. As a good man­ager will say, “the dead­line was yes­ter­day.” ter bot­tles. Reg­is­tra­tion and start­ing point will be lo­cated at the Melvin Jones stage.

I re­mem­ber do­ing a sim­i­lar ac­tiv­ity sev­eral years ago thru the ini­tia­tive of Sir Mon Da­cawi and the Baguio Cor­re­spon­dents and Broad­cast­ers' Club (BCBC) where we walked the stretch of Ses­sion Road and picked up trash along the way. The vol­ume of ba­sura col­lected dur­ing the ac­tiv­ity then was "alarm­ing" to a cer­tain ex­tent be­cause we never ex­pected that much garbage ly­ing around. Per­haps it's time we do this again.

Plog­ging is "mind­ful­ness" run­ning - a state of be­ing aware of our sur­round­ings and of know­ing fully well that we all run for some­thing big­ger than our­selves. Com­mem­o­rate Earth Day through plog­ging!

And since we're talk­ing about plas­tics, tig­i­lan na rin natin ang pagig­ing plas­tic, okai? Iwasan din ang mga taong plas­tic kasi sa ba­sur­a­han sila da­pat ma­punta, hihi...

"It is less of a phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, and more of a call for aware­ness. To plog is to real­ize that we only have one planet that we could ever call home: A re­al­iza­tion that ev­ery good cit­i­zen ought to have.” ~ Baguio Plog­gers

"Sooner or later, we will have to rec­og­nize that the Earth has rights, too, to live with­out pol­lu­tion. What mankind must know is that hu­man be­ings can­not live with­out Mother Earth, but the planet can live with­out hu­mans." ~ Evo Mo­rales

"Mother Earth needs us to keep our covenant. We will do this in courts, we will do this on our ra­dio sta­tion, and we will com­mit to our de­scen­dants to work hard to pro­tect this land and wa­ter for them. Whether you have feet, wings, fins, or roots, we are all in it to­gether." ~ Wi­nona LaDuke

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