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YEARENDER: Pampanga hopes for GMA’s freedom, Clark as premier gateway

Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) - December 28, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Through six years of the Aquino administration, Kapampangans never lost their love for former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Many are still hoping that Arroyo, who is running unopposed for a third and last term as representative of the second district of Pampanga, would be released from hospital detention.

In an apparent declaration of loyalty to the former president, political leaders in Pampanga opted to form a local party instead of jumping to the Liberal Party.

Citing the recent declaration of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that the Philippine government violated international laws for Arroyo’s ”arbitrary and illegal detention,” former Candaba mayor Gerry Pelayo insisted the case against her is political.

The Supreme Court (SC) has granted Arroyo’s request to spend Christmas and New Year in her home in Quezon City.

In a resolution, the SC allowed Arroyo to leave the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for a furlough from Dec. 23 to 26 and from Dec. 30 to Jan. 2.

For Arroyo’s cabalens, a furlough is not enough. They are hoping Arroyo will be freed when a new president is elected next year.

Clark airport

Kapampangans, like most Central Luzon residents, are also hoping that President Aquino will pursue measures to transform Clark International Airport into the country’s premier gateway. They have pinned their hopes on Clark airport to boost the economy of the region

The project got a shot in the arm when Malacañang approved a P1.2-billion budget this year for the construction of a French-designed modern airport passenger terminal.

Clark International Airport Corp. president and chief executive officer Emigdio Tanjuatco said the first phase of the terminal would increase Clark airport’s capacity from four to seven million passengers annually.

Tanjuatco said the terms of reference for the project designed by Aeroport de Paris Inc., amounting to P15 billion, are now being prepared for bidding.

He said the President was briefed on the benefits of the terminal to residents of Central and Northern Luzon, as well as on how it would decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“We also told him it would be easier to convince bigger airlines to establish regular flights at Clark with a more modern and bigger passenger terminal,” he said.

“It will increase Clark airport passenger terminal floor area by some 50,000 square meters,” he added.

Tanjuatco said the Department of Transportation and Communications is seeking an exemption from the election ban to pave the way for the completion of the first phase of the project by 2017.

ACIRC AIRPORT ARBITRARY DETENTION ARROYO CENTRAL AND NORTHERN LUZON CENTRAL LUZON CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR CLARK CLARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT CLARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT CORP DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS
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