Finance chief: Govt will preserve, grow New Clark City asset

IN line with its job to grow government assets, the Department of Finance (DOF) said it has made the development of the New Clark City as the government’s priority.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told financial reporters on Monday that one of the government’s priorities is to grow its assets, and that the New Clark City—with estimated total asset value at around $14 billion —is a priority. He said the government has committed to invest P12 billion more for its development.

“It’s obvious, our priority—and we have put money in it—is the Clark Airport and the New Clark City Development. We have invested money, we started the project. We also want to have a better air service for the Metro Manila area. The [New Clark City] value is $14 billion, that’s the estimate of the asset value, so my job is to see [to it that] it increase, not decrease. Why should I put a nuclear plant there? It [the value] will go down. Those are the decisions we have to make,” Dominguez said.

On Monday the DOF clarified that it is not the cause of delay for the Bulacan International Airport Project, adding that the department was even providing assistance to accelerate
its approval.

Dominguez clarified at the second Senate hearing on the August 16 Xiamen Airways airport fiasco that the DOF even provided assistance to help accelerate approval of the Bulacan International Airport Project by providing recommendations like the execution of a joint and several liability agreements, among others.

In a National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board meeting in  January, the finance chief explained that three issues were raised by the board in line with the project, namely: how will the project affect the Clark International Airport, given the government’s investments in Clark? How will the Bulacan International Airport affect traffic in the area? Do we need additional lanes in the North Luzon Expressway to be constructed? Do we need to change the alignment of the proposed rail system to Clark? Who the proponent really is and what is its actual financial capability?

“Your honors, all airport projects are real-estate projects. The real-estate value of the New Clark City is currently $14 billion and government has committed an additional P12 billion. We wanted to know how the Bulacan airport, which is just 65 kilometers away from Clark, will affect the value of the New Clark City, which is by the way, the property of the Filipino people,” he said. Dominguez said the government recognizes the need to accelerate the approval and implementation of airport proposals to ensure that tourists and Filipino citizens do not suffer should an incident similar to the Xiamen Air mishap recur. 

 

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Rea Cu is a graduate of Assumption College-Makati with a Bachelor's degree in Communications. She majored in Advertising and is currently the finance reporter of the BusinessMirror.