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Dominguez says not favoring clark

/ 05:12 AM September 14, 2018

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Thursday that ultimately, the government’s priority was to improve airport facilities while ensuring that doing such would not be detrimental to the fiscal situation.

“I never said that I favored Clark, but that I had questions about [the proposed] Bulakan [airport] and some helpful suggestions which San Miguel Corp. [SMC] acknowledged,” Dominguez said in a text message to reporters.

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On Monday, Dominguez said: “Our priority is the New Clark City development. We have put money in it, we started that—obviously that’s our priority.”

Dominguez was asked which the government would prioritize between the New Clark City development and SMC’s proposed P735.6-billion “aerotropolis” in Bulakan, Bulacan.

“The priority is to improve services to passengers at the least cost and risk to the taxpayers,” Dominguez said in another statement Thursday.

Earlier in the week, he expressed reservations on the unsolicited airport proposal of the diversified conglomerate, as the main proponent—subsidiary San Miguel Holdings Corp.—had only P60 billion in total equity in 2016.

The Department of Finance later suggested requiring SMC to execute a joint and several liability agreement to guarantee the financially “incapable” holdings firm.

“Everything is going to have a cost. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Either the passenger will pay for it, the airline will pay for it, or the taxpayers will pay for it,” Dominguez had said.

During his televised interview on Tuesday, President Duterte noted of the multiple airport development projects, including the SMC-led airport, as well as the proposal to develop Sangley Point and the expansion of the Clark International Airport.

“Nakita ko, maganda (I saw the proposals, they were pretty good),” the President said of the airport projects. —BEN O. DE VERA

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TAGS: aerotropolis, airport facilities, Bulakan [airport], Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, San Miguel Corp. (SMC)
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