Golden age of infra lures ‘blacklisted’ Chinese firms
To rally the administration’s “golden age of infrastructure,” the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is prioritizing the completion of four infrastructure projects before President Duterte steps down in 2022.
The priority projects, all of which will rise in Clark except for one, are: Clark International Airport new passenger terminal; Subic-Clark cargo railway project; first phase of the New Clark City, formerly called Clark Green City; and the Bonifacio Global City-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
BCDA president and CEO Vivencio B. Dizon told reporters on the sidelines of the “Dutertenomics” forum on Tuesday the agency would be doing the feasibility studies for their segment of the BRT and the cargo railway projects after the Chinese companies that initially signed up for the task pulled out in order to participate in future biddings.
Dizon was referring to China Road and Bridge Corp. and China Harbor Engineering Co. Ltd., which previously signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) to do the feasibility studies for the BRT segment and the cargo railway project, respectively.
The commitments from the firms were part of the package President Duterte brought home from China after his visit there in October. The issue received flak after the Inquirer reported that the administration collaborated with the companies blacklisted by the World Bank allegedly for fraudulent practices.
Subsidiaries of China Communications Construction Company Ltd. (CCCC), which includes CRBC and China Harbour, were debarred from all World Bank-funded or executed road and bridges projects since more than half a decade ago. The freeze order expired in January this year.
Dizon said the two Chinese companies sent letters regarding their withdrawal early in March.
BCDA committed to finish the feasibility studies by June.
According to build.gov.ph, the government’s online infrastructure portal, these BCDA projects would have a combined budget of at least P64.5 billion. The cost of developing the first phase of the New Clark City has yet to be determined.
Dizon said all the projects, except the first phase of the New Clark City, would break ground in the fourth quarter of this year.
The new passenger terminal building within the Clark International Airport, with an estimated budget of P17 billion, is expected to be completed in 2019.
The P15 billion BGC-Naia BRT, which is part of the larger Metro Manila BRT, is expected to be completed in 2021.
The 65-kilometer railway project, with a budget estimate of P32.5 billion, is seen to be completed in 2020.
Dizon said the first phase of the New Clark City should be finished in 2022. But for now, BCDA would be focusing on developing the main road.
It was paramount that “we do the road because that connects the [Green City] to the airport,” he said. The BCDA expects to finish the road project by 2018.