Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Sabotage of Clark airport dev’t persists
By Ashley Manabat

Nov 14, 2017

ANGELES CITY – Attempts to sabotage the development of the Clark International Airport (CIA) goes on, in the wake of government pushing for an airport in Bulacan and Sangley Point in Cavite.

This was the observation made by the Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM) which, since the early 1990’s has been advocating for the full and immediate development of the Clark airport.

“What is clear here is Ramon Ang wants to put up an airport in Bulacan while sabotaging the Clark airport,” said PGKM chair Ruperto Cruz over-theweekend.

Ramon S. Ang is the president of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) which acquired 49 percent of Philippine Airlines (PAL) for $500 million in 2012.

On October27, International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a press conference during the Philippine Aviation Day held in Makati Shangri-la that Clark airport is too far from Manila to be an alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“Clark is too far to be the key hub for the city. We should build a third airport closer to Manila,” de Juniac said.

Asked if the construction of a railway connecting Manila to Clark would help in making the Clark International Airport as a good alternative, de Juniac replied “we don’t think so.”

He said “ideally, an alternative airport should be at most 60 kilometers away from a city.” Clark is nearly 100 kilometers from Manila.

Exactly a week later on November 3, PAL settled almost P6 billion in obligations to the government in line with a recent deal to settle “years’ worth of unpaid navigational fees,” the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said in a published statement.

It was also reported that PAL paid the amount ahead of the December 2017 deadline as emphasized by DOTr.

The settlement came after President Duterte in September threatened to shut down Terminal 2 of NAIA exclusively used by PAL if the airline owned by taipan Lucio Tan did not settle its arrears in 10 days.

The DOTr said it initially calculated the arrears at around P7.3 billion.

But after a brief negotiation to reconcile and verify the figures, the final amount of P6 billion was reached.

But Cruz pointed out that even if the government clearly got P6 billion from PAL, it will be spending a whopping P700 billion for the Bulacan airport as proposed by SMC.

“A formal proposal (for Bulacan) was submitted to us, and we have gone over it, the completeness of the proposal. We have forwarded it to the Neda for fi nal approval,” DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade told reporters at the sidelines of the Philippine Aviation Day.

Tugade said they are waiting for the formal submission of the proposal on another private sector offer to build an international airport in Sangley Point, Cavite. But with an airport in Bulacan, can Clark maintain its dual airport status with another, a much bigger one, in the same neighborhood? Cruz asked.

“Tugade could only be lying when he says he is for the development of the Clark airport,” he said.

Cruz said what is apparent is the Clark airport under Tugade will be regarded as just a regional airport.

He recalled that some P12 billion was already allotted for Clark in the previous administration but only a portion of it was actually spent for Clark – some P2.4 billion.

“We are bof the belief that Tugade could have distributed the rest of the funds to other regional airports in the country,” he said.

“These are seasonal airports,” he added.

Tugade is clearly delaying the development of Clark, he said.

“We already saw this (delay) at the time of former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. Why is this still happening now? Where is the change promised by this administration?” he asked.

“Ang sisira kay Duterte ay si Tugade. Si Tugade ba ay bata ni Duterte o si Duterte ang bata ni Tugade (The one who is going to destroy Duterte is Tugade. Is Tugade the lackey of Duterte or is it Duterte that is the lackey of Tugade)?” said Cruz.

“Kase ang may bata talaga kay Tugade ay si Abaya, si Cesar Purisima at si Mar Roxsas (Because Tugade is the real lackey of Abaya, Cesar Purisima and Mar Roxas),” he said.

It was Purisima who recommended Tugade’s appointment then as Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president/ CEO in 2012 during the Aquino administration and Roxas was DOTC secretary.

“Let us continue to be vigilant,” Cruz said.

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