Press Release
July 9, 2016

Pimentel bats for Clark Airport development

Leading senate president aspirant Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III (PDP Laban) today said he will push for the development of the country's two major international airports, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Paranaque City and the Clark International Airport at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

"We need the two airports as our main international gateways, NAIA to serve South Metro Manila and Southern Luzon to Bicol, and Clark to serve North Metro Manila and Northern Philippines, to ease travel and flow of logistics," Pimentel said.

Pimentel's position coincides with the position of a group called Advocacy for Dual Airport Priority (ADAPT), a group that pushes for the development of Clark International Airport to decongest Metro Manila and promote the development of Central and Northern Luzon.

ADAPT has identified a six-point strategy aimed at positioning Clark at par with NAIA as the country's premier international gateways. These include the adoption by the new administration of a "dual airport strategy" as a national priority, according to ADAPT lead convenor Alex Cauguiran.

The group is also pushing for the implementation of the Clark Airport Masterplan designed to increase the Clark terminal capacity to 15 million passengers per annum in the next three years.

Incentives such as non-imposition of travel tax and exemption from excise tax and value added tax on aviation fuel are also being proposed for Clark and all other Philippine airports, except NAIA, to encourage full utilization of these airports.

Since the bulk of passengers are departing and homecoming overseas Filipino workers from Central and Norther Luzon, government agencies serving OFWs should also make available their services in Clark, said Cauguiran.

According to Pimentel, the development of Clark and decongestion of Metro Manila are key commitments of the Duterte administration that would be given urgent attention.

"I am studying the position paper of ADAPT on the matter, and I believe that after all the lip-service at developing the Clark International Airport in the past, it is time to act decisively," Pimentel said.

The underutilized airport in the former US military base at Clark in Pampanga has an area of 2,367 hectares as compared to the 700 hectare area of the NAIA. With its single runway, flight delays averaging to 45 minutes are a daily occurrence at the NAIA, aside from monstrous traffic jams leading to the airport.

Clark has two runways that can accommodate the largest planes. Its fully developed terminal capacity can reach 46 million passengers per year by 2025.

Pimentel said the full utilization of the Clark airport would also spur the development of business and infrastructure North of Manila, including railways and fast trains connecting Manila to Clark and to the rest of Northern Philippines.

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