Clark, terminally

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    ALEXANDER SANGALANG Cauguiran, new president-CEO of the Clark International Airport Corp., has served notice of his express priority to pursue the construction of the low-cost carrier passenger terminal as designed by Aeroport de Paris.

    “Pres. Duterte’s order to the airline companies to transfer flights from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Clark is firm. It is final, knowing his style in leadership. We are anticipating growth and we must prepare for it,” qualified Cauguiran of his overdrive to put up the LCC terminal, ASAP.

    Made possible through a grant from the French government, the Aeroport de Paris design was shot down reportedly at the initiative of Transportation and Communication Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya, allegedly for being “too grand” for Clark, and recommended its re-design at a projected cost of P500 million. Thankfully, Abaya, and his costly stupidity, were swept by the change that came with Duterte’s election.

    “The previous (BS Aquino III) administration reduced (Clark airport’s) capacity from 8 million passengers annually to 3 million. We want it restored to its original annual capacity,” said Cauguiran, as he enthused: “The design is free and is modular. We can extend it, that’s why I like it.”

    I do not have the least doubt that Cauguiran can work wonders for the Clark airport. The way he wielded a virtual miracle in the transformation of garbage-dumped, vermin-ridden, crimeinfested abandoned railroad tracks in Angeles City into productive people’s parks.

    Indeed, the three successive victories of Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan – against the dominant political families that were – and still are – the Nepomucenos and Lazatins, and the once-invincible Lapid were primarily factored on Cauguiran as both brain and muscle to the Agyu Tamu campaigns.

    Besides, CIAC is no stranger to him as he was its EVP during the GMA years. Not to mention his even earlier Move Clark Now! advocacy. So, can Caugurian do anything less as CIAC head honcho now?

    He can certainly do more – and supremely better – than his immediate predecessors, who’ve made a terminal case, literally and figuratively, of their stint at the CIAC.

    A brief chronology here of the Clark terminal case, as culled from a Zona piece dated July 16, 2012:

    Terminal delirium

    In September 2006, on or around the birthday of her father, President Gloria MacapagalArroyo presided over the laying of the time capsule for the construction of Terminal 2. It was announced then that the sum of P3 billion, to come from the Manila International Airport Authority, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., and the Bureau of Immigration, among other agencies would be allotted for the project.

    The plan did not pass beyond the publicity for the event.

    Under the CIAC chairmanship of foremost architect Nestor Mangio, came the $1.2 billion proposal from an ALMAL Investments Co., a subsidiary of the Kuwaiti mega developer M.A. Kharafi Projects, “to cover all civil components of the DMIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3 plus the adjacent 1,500 hectares in the aviation complex strictly following the CIAC original master plan.”

    Travels to Kuwait and Egypt by CIAC officials and even GMA herself yielded nothing but loose talks of Rolexes and Patek Philippes fi nding themselves on non-Arab wrists.

    Thereafter followed the CIAC report of a group of major government-linked and private fi rms in Malaysia called Bristeel Overseas Ventures, Inc. (BOVI) offering to infuse at least $150 million in foreign direct investment to immediately undertake the much-needed expansion of the passenger terminal of the Clark International Airport.

    And then we came to read that in a regular meeting on May 17, 2010, the CIAC Board “resolved to accept for detailed negotiations” the proposal of the Philco Aero Inc. on the Passenger Terminal 2 Development Project of the DMIA, as it was deemed “superior” to the BOVI proposal.

    That was the first and last time we read about and heard of Philco Aero…

    As one of the last offi cial acts of GMA as president though, she inaugurated the refurbished terminal, complete with two airbridges two or three days before she stepped down. That was the only concrete, albeit incomplete, improvement at the CIA terminal after all those billion-dollar proposals.

    In January 2012 the CIAC was high with terminal fever again.

    (CIAC President-CEO Victor Jose) Luciano announced that “they” are pushing for the construction of a budget terminal that will handle about 10 million passengers a year at the CIA.

    According to the press release, “The new facility, amounting to P12 billion, will take three years to complete and make (the CIA) the second largest airport in the country, next to Manila’s NAIA.”

    “This budget terminal is the kind of terminal that meets the requirements of our airport in Clark. Our terminal right now can only accommodate 2.5 million. So we need a budget terminal to eff ectively say that DMIA is the next budget airline airport of the country.” So hyped Luciano.

    In February 2012, CIAC signed a P1-billion loan facility with Land Bank of the Philippines for what it said was the Phase II expansion of the passenger terminal and other support infrastructure of the CIA, including navigational equipment.

    Luciano said the bidding of the Phase II expansion of the P360-million passenger terminal was to start on March 5…

    Only a month or two ago, CIAC announced it was seeking some P8 billion for a low cost carrier terminal, soon after upgraded to P12 million, complete with presidential backing…

    With CIAC in this perpetual state of terminal delirium, Clark’s premier international gateway future could only be in coma.

    P7.2-B LCC

    Further terminal non-developments thereafter:

    On October 2, 2013, Luciano announced, at the sidelines of Emirates’ inaugural Dubai-Clark flight, that the construction of the proposed P7.2-billion budget terminal at the Clark airport will likely start in the second quarter of 2014 and is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2016.

    The terminal, he noted, will have a capacity of between 10 million and 15 million passengers. He added the government may fund the project or place it under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.

    In May 2015, Luciano’s successor, Atty. Emigdio Tanjuatco III disclosed that CIAC “is set to bid out the contract for the first phase of the P7.2 billion low cost carrier passenger terminal building…within the next two months.”

    Tanjuatco said the first phase of the project worth P1.2 billion would be presented to the National Economic and Development Authority for approval next week.

     “Once the President approves it, hopefully the bidding for the project will start by the middle of this year,” Tanjuatco said.

    “The fact that the national government infused P1.2 billion for airport improvement is an indication of the government’s support through the DOTC,” he said.

    In September 2015, Tanjuatco again announced that BS Aquino III “fi nally approved the allotment of P1.2 billion for a new Frenchdesigned modern airport passenger terminal” at the Clark airport.

    Tanjuatco went on to say that “the terms of reference for the project, which would cost a total of P15 billion when totally fi nished, are now being prepared for bidding.”

    Rejection

    In March 2016, Tanjuatco said CIAC “is bidding out the P500-million plan for its mixeduse passenger terminal this month.”

    This, he said, was the result of the rejection by the NEDA Board of the Aeroport De Paris design as it was “too ambitious” for the 8 million passengers expected to use the airport by 2022.

    Ay, illusions, deceptions, delusions, hallucinations – all make a terminal case of the Clark airport spanning two presidencies. Bred – in the bitterest irony – in Clark’s own homeground of Pampanga and Tarlac.

    Comes now the Davao ascendancy, and a brighter promise for Clark. This time, with an appended warranty for delivery – Cauguiran.

    Don’t fail us, Sir. Move Clark now!

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