By Chino S. Leyco
Infrastructure projects under the old public-private partnership (PPP) scheme take too long to implement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.
According to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, there were several infrastructure projects in the past, led by the private sector, that were delayed due to “every reason found to prevent the project’s execution.”
“From what I recall, in the case of the NAIA rehabilitation project, the original proponent status was granted to the NAIA Consortium in September of last year, and that was a year after we first met. It is now 2019 and the project has not yet started,” Dominguez noted.
The finance chief also cited the 47-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project, which took the private sector five-years to implement.
These delays, Dominguez said are what the Duterte administration wanted to avoid.
“The Duterte Administration has no time, we only have six years in our administration, and we want to move as fast as we can,” Dominguez said.
To show the government’s commitment to fast-track the country’s infrastructure development, Dominguez said the Duterte administration decided to take on the lead to construct the key projects under its “Build, Build, Build” program.
“The Clark International Airport new terminal building is the first of the Duterte administration’s hybrid infrastructure projects. This is also the fastest to be implemented by the national government, and incidentally by the private sector, setting the template for all the other projects of our strategic infrastructure program,” Dominguez said.
The new Clark airport terminal building won approval from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board in June 2017 and after six months, the project already broke ground.
Today, the new terminal building is 56 percent complete, Dominguez said. “We are looking forward to this project’s completion ahead of schedule by mid 2020.”
“The speed by which we have processed and implemented the long-overdue Clark International Airport project exemplifies this administration’s commitment to ensure that our people reap the benefits of the Build, Build Build program as soon as possible,” the finance chief said.
“Some credit will have to be given to the political will to get things done. People have to remember that when projects are delayed, the ones who suffer are the people. So it is not PPP, it should be PPPP – Public-Private Partnership for the People. And I think many people forget that the beneficiaries are really the public,” he added.
The expansion of the Clark International Airport has been on the government’s drawing board for 20 years.
“Clark International Airport will be the next premier gateway of the nation, helping to clear the congestion that plagues the Manila airport. This facility will anchor the rapid development of the other districts of Clark. We expect this new city to become the investment center in Asia,” Dominguez said.