Airlines urged to mount Clark-Dumaguete flights

CLARK FREEPORT—The mayor of Dumaguete City who was once the president and CEO of the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) has urged airline companies to mount flights from the Clark International Airport to the Sibulan Airport in his city.

Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio B. Remollo said he is trying to convince both the Philippine Airlines  and Cebu Pacific Air to fly to Dumaguete City from Clark at least three times a week.

“We are trying to convince them because when I was still here as CDC president/CEO in 2011, we already studied that feasibility,” he said.

There are a lot of passengers who want to go to Dumaguete from Northern and Central Luzon because they want to avoid Metro Manila, he added.

“In a way, Clark will be the most feasible for any domestic airlines even if you want to go to Davao, they would prefer Clark,” he said.

“With that, you also decongest Metro Manila by making Clark a local hub or even the main hub for both international and domestic flights,” Remollo pointed out.

Clark is critical in decongesting Metro Manila because of its location, he said.  “It is really sound to make Clark connect to local airports.”

Remollo said the Sibulan Airport in Dumaguete can accommodate the modern airbus.

“Right now there are five flights a day via Manila-Dumaguete. There are also direct flights to Cebu, direct to Davao and direct to Cagayan de Oro, and now we are pushing for direct Clark flights,” he told members of the Capampangan in Media Inc.  at the Bale Balita here last Friday during the regular weekly media forum “Balitaan” organized in cooperation with the CDC.

Remollo said tourism destinations also abound in Dumaguete and its nearby areas.

He noted that the southern tip of Cebu, which includes Santander and Oslob, are emerging tourist destinations because of the popular “whale-shark [Butanding] watching” attraction.

“We just promote Oslob [Cebu] and they go via Dumaguete,” he said. Oslob is easily accessible via a short boat ride from Dumaguete (around 30 minutes), instead of land travel from Cebu City, which usually takes around three hours, he added.

The mayor said Cebuanos from the island’s southern tip also go shopping, go to school and even use the hospitals in Dumaguete instead of Cebu City.

Venue for MICE, sporting events

Remollo said Dumaguete is now capable of hosting Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) and is also a venue for regional sports meets.

Early next year, he said some 10,000 will be flocking to Dumaguete to participate in talent competitions, like chorus singing, mathematics, etc.

Remollo said he signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Sports Commission  to make Dumaguete City as their regional hub and all of the Visayas for sports, like the Batang Pinoy, Philippine National Games and University Games.

He added every month Dumaguete hosts new sports events, like the handball competition, an Olympic sport, which will be held in November.

The mayor said he is also pushing to host three to four events, of the upcoming Southeast Asia Games in 2019.  “We are pushing to host three to four games, like archery, beach volleyball, triathlon and handball,” he said.

Remollo added the Philippine archery team trained in Dumaguete before going to Malaysia.

Dumaguete is also the Dragon Boat champion, he pointed out.