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CLARK FREEPORT - The P15- biliion French-designed passenger terminal proposed at the Clark International Airport here will be completed as scheduled up to 2022 regardless who wins in next year’s presidential elections.

This was the assurance of Pampanga 1st District Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao who stressed that “we need only a single National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) board approval for the whole project.”

In a text message to Punto from Australia where he is on official trip, Guiao said “it’s going to be a yearly appropriation from hereon since it’s now a continuing commitment of government.”

“The government has to fund the project until its completion. That’s why it’s important for us in Central and Northern Luzon (to monitor the project) for the long term,” he said, adding that the new terminal would be “complementary to the rail system jointly funded by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).”

The NEDA board, headed by Pres. Aquino, approved last Friday the P15-billion project that would increase the Clark International Airport’s capacity to accommodate passengers from the current four million annually to 16 million by 2022. The approval also paved the way for the release of an initial P1.2 billion budget for the project’s Phase I slated to be finished beyond the Aquino administration in 2017.

The P1.2 billion was incorporated in the national budget of this year. Guiao said that some P2 billion more would be included in next year’s budget to start Phase 2 of the terminal project.

Guiao said that the rest of the P15-billion budget would be included in the national budgets for the following years until such time that the entire new terminal, designed by the Aeroporte de Paris, Inc., is completed in 2022.

Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) President- CEO Emigdio Tanjuatco III said the completion of the P1.2-billion Phase 1 would increase Clark airport’s capacity from the present four million passengers to seven million annually.

Tanjuatco said the new terminal would add some 50,000 square meters to the floor are of Clark airport’s terminal.

Roxas as catalyst

While the victory of the administration’s presidential candidate in the 2016 election is not necessary to ensure the completion of the new terminal, Guiao said “Sec. Mar Roxas can certainly lay claim to being a catalyst of this project since the seed was planted during his stint at the DOTC.”

“Now PNoy (Pres. Aquino) has validated the importance of Clark by his support as expressed during the NEDA board discussions,” Guiao said.

Tanjuatco, who attended the NEDA board meeting presided by the President in Malacanang, said the meeting lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. last Friday.

Pres. Aquino devoted four hours asking questions and listening to justifications for the terminal. He just did not want the terminal ending as a white elephant, especially because he is from Central Luzon which hosts Clark airport,” Tanjuatco said.

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