POSTSCRIPT / May 26, 2015 / Tuesday


Opinion Columnist

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Is your congressman among ‘Porky Fifty’?

HOW DID your congressman vote on the Bangsamoro Basic Law bill (HB 4994) last Wednesday — if he was a member of the ad hoc House committee that approved the BBL by a vote of 50-17?

Many readers were asking how their representative voted in the panel chaired by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez. So here below is the tally. Those who voted Yes, btw, are sometimes labelled as the “Porky Fifty” maybe because of reports that some were promised P50 million in budgetary pork.

Look for your congressman in this committee list (in alphabetical order):

• YES (50 votes): Abad, Henedina (Batanes); Acop, Romeo (Antipolo City 2nd Dist.); Acosta-Alba,Ma. Lourdes (Bukidnon 1st Dist.); Adiong, Ansaruddin (Lanao del Sur 1st Dist.); Almonte, Jorge (Misamis Occidental 1st Dist.); Amatong, Isagani (Zamboanga del Norte 3rd Dist.); Amatong, Rommel (Compostela Valley 2nd Dist.); Arbison, Naryam Napii (Sulu 2nd Dist.); Bag-ao, Kaka (Dinagat Islands); Balindong, Pangalian (Lanao del Sur 2nd Dist.); Banal, Jorge (Quezon City 3rd Dist.); Barzaga, Elpidio Jr. (Cavite 4th Dist.); Belmonte, Jose Christopher (Quezon City 6th Dist.); Biazon, Rodolfo (Muntinlupa City); Cabilao, Belma (Zamboanga Sibugay Dist.); Dimaporo, Imelda Quibranza (Lanao del Norte 1st Dist.);

Ermita-Buhain, Elenita Miagros (Batangas 1st Dist.); Fariñas, Rodolfo (Ilocos Norte 1st Dist.); Garay, Florencio (Surigao del Sur 2nd Dist.); Garcia-Albano, Mylene (Davao City 2nd Dist.); Gonzales, Neptali II (Mandaluyong City); Gutierrez, Ibarra III (Akbayan Party-list); Hataman-Salliman, Jim (Basilan); Hofer, Ann (Zamboanga Sibugay 2nd Dist.); Katoh, Angelina Ludovice (Akbayan Party-list); Labadlad, Rosendo (Zamboanga del Norte 2nd Dist.); Lagdameo, Antonio Jr (Davao del Norte 2nd Dist.); Loong, Tupay (Sulu 1st Dist.); Mangundadatu, Zajid (Maguindanao 2nd Dist.); Masongsong, Edgar (1-CARE Party-list); Matugas, Francisco (Surigao del Norte 1st Dist.); Mendoza, Raymond Democrito (TUCP); Oaminal, Henry (Misamis Occidental 2nd Dist.);

Piamonte, Mariano Jr (A Teacher Party-list); Robredo, Maria Leonor Gerona (Camarines Sur 3rd Dist.); Quimbo, Romero (Marikina City 2nd Dist.); Rodriguez, Maximo (Abante Mindanao); Rodriguez, Rufus (Cagayan de Oro 2nd Dist.); Romarate, Guillermo Jr (Surigao del Norte 2nd Dist.); Romualdo, Xavier Jesus (Camiguin); Sacdalan, Jesus (North Cotabato 1st Dist.); Sahali, Ruby (Tawi-Tawi); Sakaluran, Raden (Sultan Kudarat 1st Dist.); Sarmiento, Mel Senen (Western Samar 1st Dist.); Sema, Bai Sandra (Maguindanao and Cotabato City 1st Dist.); Teodoro, Marcelino (Marikina City 1st Dist.); Turabin-Hataman, Sitti Djalia (AMIN Party-list); Tupas, Niel Jr. (Iloilo 5th Dist.); Ungab, Isidro  (Davao City 3rd Dist.); Uy, (Misamis Oriental 2nd Dist.).

• NO (17 votes): Alejano, Gary (Magdalo Party-list); Almario, Thelma (Davao Oriental 2nd Dist.); Bello, Silvestre III (1-BAP); Cerilles, Aurora Enerio (Zamboanga del Sur 2nd Dist.); Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna); De Jesus, Emmi (Gabriela Party-list); Hicap, Fernando (Anakpawis Party-list); Jalosjos, Seth Frederick (Zamboanga del Norte 1st Dist.); Lobregat, Celso (Zamboanga City 1st Dist.); Lopez, Carol Jayne (YACAP); Macrohon-Nuño, Lilia  (Zamboanga City 2nd Dist.); Pichay, Philip (Surigao del Sur 1st Dist.); Ridon, Terry (Kabataan Party-list); Tejada, Jose (North Cotabato 3rd Dist.); Tinio, Antonio (ACT Teachers); Yu, Victor (Zamboanga del Sur 1st Dist.); Zarate, Carlos Isagani (Bayan Muna).

• Abstain: Abueg, Frederick (Palawan 2nd Dist.). By his lonesome, Abueg abstained after discovering that an unseen hand had inserted in Section 3 among the contiguous territories that may opt for inclusion in the Bangsamoro all adjoining areas “within the area of autonomy identified in the 1976 Tripoli Agreement”. Suddenly some towns in Palawan were opened for creeping inclusion.

Clark relegated to being NAIA doormat

PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino hails from Central Luzon, but that has not prevented Clark International Airport in Pampanga from serving as a mere doormat, or at best a waiting room, for foreign airlines applying for landing rights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

It has happened before – and may happen again — that an airline with one eye on NAIA settles for waiting-in-service at Clark till its operating to and from NAIA is finally arranged, then abandons Clark.

That sloppy treatment of Clark, plus Malacañang’s lack of an aggressive development plan for it, explains why this international airport with its world class US Air Force-built runways and a service area four times bigger than NAIA never takes off as a premier global gateway.

Stakeholders are watching if this waiting game will be played again in the May 27-28 aviation talks between the Philippines and Qatar for the latter’s flag carrier to increase from eight to 21 its weekly Doha-Manila flights – the highest among Middle East airlines flying to NAIA.

Qatar Airways also flies seven times a week from Doha to Clark, a service inaugurated in 2013 after the airline cut its Doha-NAIA flights from 14 to 8 times per week to comply with limits set by the Philippines-Qatar air pact.

The guessing game is over whether Doha-Clark flights will continue should Qatar gains additional frequencies to NAIA. Will the Aquino administration insist on Executive Order No. 29 encouraging liberal access to other airports such as Clark, Iloilo and Cebu, while retaining restrictions on flights to congested NAIA?

Qatar Airways serves one of the dwindling international routes of foreign airlines in Clark. Other operators are: Dragonair (three flights weekly from Hong Kong), Asiana (daily flights from Seoul), Air Asia (four flights weekly from Kuala Lumpur), Jin Air (daily flights from Seoul) and Tiger Airways (daily flights from Singapore).

Clark was a fallback route of Qatar while awaiting permission to fly to the preferred NAIA. From 2009 to 2013, it was flying 14 times per week to NAIA, giving it a “double daily” advantage in having morning and evening daily departures from Manila to the Qatari capital.

But the 14-flights-per-week operation stopped in November 2013, when Qatar’s permit to borrow excess entitlements from Philippine carriers expired. It had to scale down its Doha-Manila flights to the current eight. To compensate for the loss of frequencies, Qatar flew the Doha-Clark route in 2013.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 26, 2015)

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