The record speed by which the expansion project for the Clark International Airport is being implemented underlines the steadfast commitment and political will of the Duterte administration to fast-track its “Build, Build, Build” program and thereby unlock immediate gains for the Filipino people, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
This airport expansion, which has thus far been the fastest infrastructure project implemented by the Duterte administration, sets the template for all other ventures under the “Build, Build, Build” program, Dominguez said.
Dominguez said that even if the government has adopted a “fast-and-sure” approach in implementing its infrastructure modernization projects, it is making sure that all contracts and bidding procedures for these were being done “with full transparency and accountability.”
“This is not only a model for the rapid implementation of projects. It is also a model for effective governance in the modern age,” Dominguez said here before the start of an inspection tour to check the progress of the work on the Clark airport expansion project.
The expansion of the Clark airport, which involves the construction of a new and bigger passenger terminal, is the first of the government’s “hybrid” infrastructure projects under President Duterte’s centerpiece imitiative “Build, Build, Build.”
The Clark International Airport is envisioned by the government as the country’s next premier gateway that will help clear the congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and anchor the rapid development of New Clark City in Central Luzon.
Dominguez said he expects New Clark City, which is being developed into the country’s first smart, green and fully planned metropolis, “to become the investment center in Asia.”
In June 2017, the board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chaired by President Duterte approved the Clark airport expansion project after which it broke ground following a short period of six months.
Today, Dominguez said the passenger terminal is 56 percent complete and is expected to be done ahead of schedule by the middle of next year.
“The speed by which we have processed and implemented the long-overdue Clark International Airport project exemplifies this administration’s commitment to ensure that our people reap the benefits of the ‘Build, Build Build’ program as soon as possible,” Dominguez said. “Some credit will have to be given to the political will to get things done.”
In contrast, NAIA’s rehabilitation, of which the original proponent status was granted to the NAIA Consortium in September last year, has not yet started, he said.
“People have to remember that when projects are delayed, the ones who suffer are the people. So it is not PPP, it should be PPPP–Public-Private Partnership for the People. And I think many people forget that the beneficiaries are really the public,” Dominguez said.
He recalled that the expansion of the Clark airport has been on the planning stage for 20 years, but with every administration finding “every reason to prevent the project’s execution.”
But under the Duterte administration, “the means and the methods were found to finally make things happen.”