P1.2-B for new Clark terminal passes final step, bidding soon

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    CLARK FREEPORT – Pres. Aquino and his Cabinet met Tuesday as board members of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and approved the release of P1.2 billion for the first phase of the P12-billion, French-designed new passenger terminal building at the Clark International Airport.

    In a telephone interview, Pampanga 1st District Rep. Joseller Guiao said that the meeting was the final step needed for the release of the funds.

    “It was just a matter of formality in the process of approving the budget,” Guiao said, as he expressed confidence that bidding for the terminal project could be done within this year.

    Guiao said that the new terminal would cost a total of P12 billion when finished and not merely P7.2 billion as being reported earlier. It was designed by the Aeroporte de Paris.

    “There were initial moves to downgrade the design to bring down the cost, but we pushed for the adoption of the entirety of the French design because we insisted that it took into consideration all factors of how a truly world-class international passenger terminal should be. So now, the original design will be done,” Guiao said.

    Guiao noted that the proposed release of the initial P1.2 billion for the project already passed the scrutiny of the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Cabinet Cluster on Transportation and Communications.

    “The June 30 NEDA board meeting, headed by the President and composed of all cabinet members, was slated for the approval of the P1.2 billion as a matter of formality.

    The fund is in the bag and the next step would be to bid out the project,” he said.

    Guiao said that the P1.2-billion should be bid out so that the project could start within this year so as to avoid the fund being reverted back to the national treasury.

    “We expect that enough funds would be allocated in the next years for the other phases of the project so it would be finished in four to five years,” he added. The new terminal would be able to process as many as 13 million passengers annually.

    Guiao cited the “urgency” of upgrading the Clark airport amid congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the increasing size of aircraft, as well as the increase in international flights over the coming years.

    The new terminal is expected to boost the development of Clark airport by attracting more airlines and investors to operate at the 2,367-hectare Clark Civil Aviation Complex and the rest of Central Luzon.

    The volume of passengers using the Clark airport is expected to grow 150 percent to three million over the next two years from 1.2 million passengers per year.

    Last year, a P417-million improvement project of the existing passenger terminal building increased Clark airport’s annual passenger capacity from 2.5 million to four million yearly.

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