Clark renamed Diosdado Macapagal Int'l Airport

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday formally renamed the Clark International Airport to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark Field, Pampanga, on the occasion of the 91st birth anniversary of her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal Sr.

The President reaffirmed her administration's commitment to pursue the economic and social development program her father had left behind in order to make the country at par with the rest of the world.

"On the occasion of his birth anniversary, I ask all those who loved and respected him to join me in the development of a national consensus that we have to be more socially progressive to keep pace with the rest of the world," she said.

In her remarks, the President said the renaming of the airport is aimed at preserving the memory of a man who rose to power despite economic difficulties.

President Arroyo paid tribute to her father whom she has regarded as her role model for his "incorruptible integrity" and his "genuine concern for the poor."

During his lifetime, the late President, nicknamed "Dadong," known as the "Poor Boy from Lubao," served as congressman, as vice president, and eventually as the fifth president of the Philippines.

Agrarian reform, which he launched with his "land-for-the-landless" program is now the centerpiece program of the Arroyo administration, which has vowed to distribute 600,000 hectares of agricultural lands before her term expires in 2004.

In ceremonies at the DMIA terminal, the President unveiled a marker bearing the bust of her late father.

She also witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Clark Development Corp. and Cebu Pacific which will fly from Cebu to Clark and back at least three times a week starting Oct. 28.

The President saaid she hopesthe DMIA will become the country's next premier international airport with the impending construction of the Clark-Subic-Tarlac Expressway project funded with Japan's Official Development Assistance.

She also announced the entry of Rolls-Royce as among Clark's business locators and the establishment of a P500-million Price Membership Shopping complex at the Clark Special Economic Zone.