TACLOBAN CITY—Businessmen and the riding public here in the region are hopeful that the government will take heed of their appeal to “reconsider and desist” the reported implementation of rerouting of all Tacloban –Manila flights to Clark International Airport.
“We had a very productive meeting with Sec. Mike Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas. Sec Dino spoke with (DOTr Secretary Arthur) Tugade and also relayed some good news in our meeting,” RTR Foundation/Mission Tacloban – Mission Director and member Leyte Chamber of Commerce Ginggay Hontiveros said on Thursday (August 11).
Based from their meeting, Hontiveros along with Oliver Cam of the Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that “any rerouting to decongest must have a win-win solution and if implemented should only affect up to 50% of flights with passengers to be offered a choice to fly via Manila or Clark.”
“Second, Tacloban is not to be singled out but that all other Visayas routes should also be part of the decongestion solution. He emphasized that no implementation would be done without proper consultation with Eastern Visayas stakeholders,” Hontiveros said.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) – Eastern Visayas earlier passed a resolution urging DOTr to reconsider its plan, saying “the region’s economy is still at a critical turnaround and recovery phase after supertyphoon Yolanda aggravated the region’s economic situation….”
The chamber reasoned out that the planned rerouting will disrupt the region’s economic growth and “effectively kill (its) tourism industry due to the following major reasons: higher costs; extended/longer travel time; and greater hassle/inconvenience.”
The three airlines serving Tacloban are Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Air Asia.
Jude Acidre, leader of a political group Tingog Sinirangan (Voice of Eastern Visayas) is also looking forward that the government will listen to their plight.
“I hope that the administration will reconsider the plan to transfer Tacloban-Manila flights from NAIA to Clark until the needed train/freeway infrastructure is in place, an integration plan based on a dual airport system is implemented, international flights are
rationalized to other international airports and not while Eastern Visayas is still trying to rebuild its local economy,” he said online.
Over social media, concerned netizens pushed for the hashtag #NoToClarkForTaclobanFlights as a sign of protest over the rerouting issue.