The Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII-Infrastructure and Utilities Development Committee (IUDC) conducted a special meeting last 17 August 2016 to discuss the possible rerouting of all Tacloban-Manila flights to Clark International Airport as reported in GMA News on 09 August 2016. The report created agitation and dismay to the business sector, government sector and to the people of Eastern Visayas considering that this will have a negative impact on the fragile regional economy which is still recovering from super typhoon Yolanda and possibly kill the tourism industry’s growth potential due to higher airfares, land transportation costs and airfreight costs, extended/longer travel time, and greater hassle/inconvenience to passengers (especially if bringing cargo/baggage).

During said meeting, the Committee passed IUDC VIII Resolution No. 33, Series of 2016, entitled “Recommending to the Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII to Request the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to Reconsider and Further Study the Implementation of the Full Rerouting of All Tacloban-Manila Flights to Clark International Airport”.

This IUDC action supports the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)-Eastern Visayas positions to defer the implementation of said rerouting and further study the situation taking into account other domestic routes with high flight volumes, as well as international flights that can contribute in alleviating the congestion in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

A total of thirty (30) participants attended the meeting, including the Department of Tourism (DOT) VIII Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes, the three (3) station managers from Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia, and representatives from the regional line agencies, local government units, private sector, and resource person from the business sector.

Lucille B. Gajutos, PMED, NEDA VIII