Gov’t slammed for having no clear policy on Clark airport


Executives from various industries have criticized the government for sending mixed signals regarding the development of Clark International Airport, saying that no clear policy direction has emerged even after three years of studies.

In a press conference on Wednesday, private sector officials attending the Clark Aviation Conference this week said the government appeared to be dragging its feet on the issue of Clark, once considered to be a viable replacement to Manila’s congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

“The problem is that the DOTC has never made up its mind on Clark. First, they (the government) said they would develop (Clark Airport) and it would replace Naia. Now they are talking about having both airports operational at the same time,” said Capt. Benjamin Solis, an adviser to Clark International Airport Corp. and a former consultant of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Solis also said the fact that the DOTC, the biggest department of the government’s executive branch, has had three different secretaries in as many years made decision-making a longer process. As a result, several projects to expand different parts of the airport remain in limbo.

He revealed that state-run Land Bank of the Philippines already approved a P600-million loan to fund the expansion of the existing passenger terminal at Clark. This project will increase the facility’s capacity to five million passengers a year from 2.5 million a year.

Also, the business leaders are wondering whether the government plans to develop Clark as a replacement to Naia or if it would remain a secondary point to Manila.

“Investors just want to see Clark as an option. They aren’t satisfied because nobody is making up their minds. Investors will only put money if there is certainty,” said Jeff Pradhan, former president of Clark Investors and Locators Association.

“It all comes down to lost opportunities at the end of the day,” said Pradhan, who is now with Peregrine, a logistics firm inside the Clark Freeport Zone.

He said several foreign companies have invested heavily in Clark in the last few years, expecting that the government would focus on developing the area as a replacement to Naia.

Last year, the DOTC said plans to develop Clark would be put on the backburner as the government studied proposals for a new airport closer to Manila to replace Naia. Clark is 80 kilometers north of the metropolis.

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  • dave

    3 years ago Mar Roxas announced it in public the he will develop Clark International Airport. I still remember articles and newscasts when he did this. Why don’t you get back to Mar Roxas for possible answers?

  • Maldi2

    This is but one of the policies that needs attention.  Pero busy ang Abnoy natin sa pangangapanya kaya di nila masagot yan.  Kung tatanungin mo yan si Panot puro mga conjectures lang ang isasagot at walang laid plans – baga puro nasa hangin at pambobola lang.

    Sa mga ganitong reklamo ng mga businesses at problema asahan mo ang tuloy2 na pagdausdos ng popularity ng Abnoy nating Pangulo.  Nahubaran na si Simeon sa kanyang maskara na kulang sa kakayahan mamuno ng bansa!

  • tower_of_power

    Galeng nga lang Pasay nahoholdup na … galeng pa kayang Clark? Baka pagdating ng mga tourists sa Manila huhulihin pa sila for indecent exposure dahil pati mga damit kinuha ng mga hold-uppers …. hahahahaha!!!

    Seriously, what is so important about Clark na hindi makahintay yan kung ano talaga ang gagawin? The resources of the govt is sooooo meager … mas marami pang mga masimportanteng bagay ang kailangang pagtunuan ng pansin ng govt … isa isa lang at mahina ang kalaban … hahahahaha!!!

  • M C

    For those who may not have been to HK or Sgp or KL, their airports are never in the midst of the city.  Same with London or Paris or even Bangkok. Maybe, those planners have to be given allowances to travel and see for themselves actual conditions of these airports and how they are accessed from their respective metros.  There has been a study conducted on Clark from a USD20M grant given by China during the time of Senyor Chichus and I wonder whatever happened to that study. About five years ago, I have offered to build the airport before on a BOT basis with no cost to the government and I am sure that a lot of other parties have proposed the same but I still wonder up to now how come the government has not yet decided up to now when there are a lot of parties offering to modernize or construct a new airport with no cash outlay from CDC or the National Government. Now, any offer to construct the airport must include a dedicated passenger train system into which an aircraft traveler can hop in and be in Metro Manila in 45 minutes.  We are all past that “study” phase and now is the time to start constructing.  The passenger terminal in the city can be copied from what they did at IFC in HK where passengers can check in and can be whisked to the air terminal in less than an hour.  The best place to locate the City Terminal will either be at the Payanig Site or Camp Aguinaldo.  Maybe, the AFPMBSLA can lease their property and their earnings can go directly to buy combat aircrafts, radar systems and missiles for the Armed Forces. Arbitration is nice textbook play but we still need to have the hardware. It’s all a matter of political will.

  • Jean Claude

    Clark is so far from Manila DUH! Si Gloria lang naman ang may pasimuno ng Clark to think pinangalan pa niya sa tatay niyang si Diosdado ang airport. Without a train link that will connect Clark and Manila the airport will only be secondary.

    • frank

      tama.. malayo nga… ano ba kulang sa Clark eh may international flight din naman…. NAIA and CLARK co exist… if they build another one, it should be down south, batangas or lucena perhaps

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