TACLOBAN CITY – Businessmen from the region are to meet with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade to persuade him not to pursue plans to divert all Tacloban-Manila flights to Clark International Airport in Pampanga.
This was disclosed by Oliver Cam, a member of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Eastern Visayas chapter which registered its opposition to the rerouting plan.
Cam, a hotel owner, said that he had a meeting with Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino last Thursday (August 11) to air their opposition to rerouting plans.
“Dino spoke with DOTr Arthur Tugade and relayed the good news in our meeting at Cebu Country Club. We are looking forward to the consultation meeting with Tugade once Dino is able to confirm the schedule and venue,” Cam said.
Sec.Tugade had assured them that “any rerouting to decongest must have a win-win solution and if implemented should only affect up to 50 percent of flights with passengers to be offered a choice to fly via Manila or Clark,” Cam added.
“Tacloban should not be singled out but all other Visayas routes should also be part of the decongestion solution,” Cam, who sits as the private sector representative to the Regional Development Council (RDC) representing PCCI, stressed.
Various groups here in the region aired their concerns after Tugade announced in a Senate hearing Wednesday that the three airlines – Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Air Asia – agreed to transfer all Tacloban-Manila flights to Clark.
The DOTr initially planned to make Tacloban-Manila flights as pilot for rerouting to curb congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
After the DOTr’s pronouncement, netizens have expressed their protest against the plan by using the hashtag #NoToClarkForTaclobanFlights on social media.
The opposition claimed that the transfer would be an additional burden to passengers, both in time and cost.
The Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, one of the country’s busiest, is a gateway to the different parts of the region.
In the first quarter of 2016, the airport had 311,944 inbound and outbound passengers or a 12 percent growth than last year.