June 21,2013 12:07 AM
By: Tara Yap
THE renewed proposal to rename Iloilo Airport met stiff opposition from political and business leaders.
Ma. Lea Lara, Iloilo Business Club (IBC) executive director, said it would be better to retain the airport’s present name to reinforce Iloilo as a marketing brand.
“Let’s retain the name. Iloilo, as a name, has a geographic value in the global scale. After all, we’re trying to establish Iloilo as a brand,” Lara said.
In terms of economic value, Lara said airline companies in the country have been familiar with Iloilo Airport as a regional hub.
“And since we already have international flights, the same name is used in Hong Kong and Singapore,” she added.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor also thumbed down the proposal.
“I don’t want to change the name. Let it stay that way,” Defensor said.
Defensor said the change should be on the official classification of the airport.
“If there is any official change, it should be Iloilo International Airport,” he added.
Since the launching of international flights last November 2012, people have started referring to the airport as Iloilo International Airport.
But the 188-hectare airport is still officially known as Iloilo Airport.
Proposals to change the name started prior to the opening of the new airport in the towns of Sta. Barbara and Cabatuan last June 2007.
Former Antique Governor Sally Perez got the ire of Iloilo officials in 2006 when she proposed to rename the airport as Panay International Airport.
Among those who vehemently opposed the renaming were former Iloilo governor Niel Tupas Sr. and former Iloilo City mayor and now Rep. Jerry Treñas.
The Dr. Graciano Lopez Jaena Foundation Inc. also proposed to name the airport after the Ilonggo journalist who is the founding editor of La Solidaridad, the reformist newspaper which fought for more civil and political liberties in the Philippines under the Spanish rule.
Recently, the municipal government of Cabatuan passed a resolution proposing to rename the airport after Tomas Confesor.
Outgoing Cabatuan Mayor Robert Maroma said Confesor brought pride to Iloilo as a Philippine senator, constitutional delegate, Iloilo governor, Panay and Romblon governor and assemblyman. He also authored the law which created the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.
Names of airport could be changed through an executive order from the Philippine President, a resolution from the Philippines Bases Conversion and Development Authority or congressional fiat.