A groundbreaking ceremony was held inside the existing Clark International Airport (CRK) to officially commence the construction of a new airport terminal.
Top government officials came to witness the groundbreaking ceremony. Those present included former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Senator Richard Gordon, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer Vivencio Dizon
The said new airport terminal covers an area of more than 100,000 sqm, and is expected to have a capacity of 8 million passengers per year.
For Dizon, the new airport terminal is a breakthrough project. Construction immediately began six months after the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) had approved the proposal fo the airport terminal, making this project a record holder in the immediacy of implementation.
The new airport terminal will be funded under the Philippine government’s hybrid model. In contrast to the public-private partnership (PPP), the airport terminal will not be fully funded by a private entity. Instead, government agencies will finance its construction and inauguration, and the participation of private entities will be limited to the funding of operations and maintenance costs.
The privilege to finance government projects under the hybrid model is awarded to a private entity after a rigid bidding process. BCDA awarded Clark’s new airport terminal project to Megawide-GMR consortium, which has been a long-time partner of the Philippine government under PPP.
A First Step
According to Tugade, Clark’s new airport terminal is just the first the series of construction projects under President Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program.
The current administration is eyeing Clark as a wise solution to the problem of Metro Manila’s congestion. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade is determined to finish all transportation-related projects before the end of President Duterte’s term so as to prove that the president is keeping his promises.
“Itatali natin itong proyektong ito (new Clark airport terminal) sa tinatawag na Tutuban-Malolos, Malolos-Angeles railway,” said Tugade. (We will connect the new Clark airport terminal to the Tutuban-Malolos, Malolos-Angeles railway.)
The said Tutuban-Malolos-Angeles railway is more popularly known as Manila-Clark railway. The government claims that once completed, this rail system can reduce travel time from Manila to Central Luzon in less than one hour.
Senator Richard Gordon is a strong advocate of the development of freeport zones in the country. Gordon himself once chaired the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
Clark Freeport Zone will also be connected to Subic Bay via Subic-Clark Cargo Railway Project.
However, all these are mere preludes to the rise of New Clark City, a metropolis that will be erected on the north tip of the existing freeport zone. Covering an area of 9,450 hectares, this New Clark City is seen as a wise solution to decongest Metro Manila and to cascade development to the countrysides.