₱9.36-billion Clark airport terminal expansion breaks ground

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Public officials led the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Clark International Airport terminal expansion Wednesday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 20) — The first hybrid project under President Rodrigo Duterte's infrastructure program, the ₱9.36 billion (US$ 187 million) Clark International Airport expansion, broke ground Wednesday.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the expansion of the Clark airport in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga will be the fastest implemented by the government. It is expected to be completed in 2020.

"Before, projects take an average of 30 months under PPP. I assure you that this will not happen in the infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration," Dominguez told reporters, referring to Public-Private Partnerships.

The 82,600-square meter Clark terminal expansion is one of the 11 projects approved by the National Economic Development Authority in June. It is also one of the major projects under the ₱8-trillion Build! Build! Build! Infrastructure program of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Clark International Airport, which is more than 100 kms north of Metro Manila is expected to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airports by accommodating an additional eight million passengers every year.

Clark International Airport was where most of the world leaders attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' Summit and Related Meetings were received.

READ: Clark airport girds for record 1.4 million passengers this Christmas

Under the hybrid model of the PPP, the government will build the infrastructure using its own funds, and then bid the operations and maintenance to the private sector.

The Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) which oversees the Clark International Airport said that they awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction deal for the Clark terminal to a joint venture of Megawide Construction Corporation and India-based GMR Infrastructure Limited (Megawide-GMR). Their bid was over three billion pesos less than the ceiling for the project set by government.

Megawide-GMR beat proposals from China State Construction Engineering Corp, China Harbour Engineering Co, Sinohydro Corp, and the consortium of Tokwing Construction Corp and China Machinery Engineering Corp., said BCDA's Senior Vice President and Chair of the Special Bids and Awards Committee Joshua Bingcang.

Officials from the BCDA, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), and the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) led the groundbreaking ceremonies.

The expansion of the Clark International Airport was a long time in coming.

"It's quite sad that it took this long. The last six or seven years, things didn't move. But we forget about the past. That's water under the bridge, because now we move forward," said BCDA President and chief executive officer Vince Dizon.

The Clark International Airport's new terminal building is the second airport project of Megawide-GMR. The consortium is now operating and maintaining the Mactan-Cebu international airport.

READ: Tourism to get boost with 2018 opening of 2nd Cebu terminal, seaplane routes