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Terminal case

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“THE CLARK International Airport New Passenger Terminal is on track to be fully operational by January 2021, with the building shell already 99.52 percent completed.”

Good news amid all that gloom and doom wrought by the rampaging cases of the coronavirus disease afflicting the nation and the world.

“We are excited to see this project open in five months. Clark’s new and modern terminal will not only enhance connectivity and improve passenger experience, it will also further boost economic growth in the region,” enthused Flagship Programs and Projects Sec. Vince Dizon, also president-CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

The new CRK passenger terminal is a joint project of the BCDA and the Department of Transportation under the Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration.

We, the people of the Metro Clark area, are as much, if not more excited than Dizon over this development, long, long promised it has been to us but only now on the verge of being delivered.

So, even as we relish the emerging realization of that dream long cherished, we can’t help but recall all the frustrations through all these years over the failure to launch the Clark terminal. That, we chronologized in a Zona piece dated July 16, 2012 aptly titled Terminal delirium, to wit:

In September 2006, on or around the birthday of her father, President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo 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 finding themselves on non-Arab wrists.

Thereafter followed the CIAC report of a group of major government-linked and private firms 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 official 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 effectively 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 billion, complete with presidential backing…

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

And it did not end there. Further terminal non-developments thereafter, as culled from past columns too:

P7.2-B LCC terminal

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

In September 2015, Tanjuatco again announced that President BS Aquino III “finally approved the allotment of P1.2 billion for a new French-designed 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 finished, 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 home ground of Pampanga and Tarlac.

Comes now the Davao ascendancy, and a brighter promise for Clark…

SO ENDED our piece Clark, terminally published here in August 30, 2016, two months into the presidency of Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

And four years after, lo and behold: the new CRK terminal is 99.52 percent finished. No promises Duterte made here, he simply delivered.

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