Friday, August 14, 2020

Operation and maintenance of the Clark International Airport

Wazzup Pilipinas!

This is to clarify the points raised in an article published by Mr. Max Sangil (Sunstar Pampanga, 2020), wherein he questioned several aspects in the operation and maintenance of the Clark International Airport (CIA).

In his article he commented that the “take over” of the airport by Luzon International Premier Airport Development (LIPAD) came at a time when the airport is already viable.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the Implementing Agency of the Project, has long-planned the bid out of the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of the existing and new Clark International Airport passenger terminal, the first hybrid public-private partnership (PPP) model under the Duterte administration. It is but natural to bid it at a time when it is viable to attract more bidders and thus result in higher bids. The Project was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the concession agreement is aboveboard.

The privatization of the O&M, a practice recognized world-wide, was aimed at building government’s asset base, and at the same time, infuse funds for the operations and maintenance of the airport, which will be an additional responsibility for government if not for the concession agreement.

With the O&M Concession Agreement, government, through the BCDA as the implementing agency, receives 18.25 percent revenue share and the 500 million pesos yearly lumpsum payment for 20 years from the bid.

Further, ownership and possession of the commercial assets developed shall be transferred to BCDA at the Termination/Transfer Date.

Thus, the terms and conditions of the O&M are favorable to the government, especially now that the country is dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the economy.

On the issue that the oversight function of Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) was removed, the Agency’s mandate is still there through the DOTr, with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS). DOTr, CAAP, and OTS are in constant communication with CIAC President and Chief Executive Officer Aaron Aquino, explaining therein the background and rationale for such arrangements.

Let it be clear that the safety, security, and oversight functions shall not be waived by the government. Safety will be handled by CAAP, while Security will be handled by OTS.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Sangil chose to publish his article when the current administration’s plan is about to be realized with the opening of the Clark International Airport PTB 2 next year. This will greatly benefit the people of Pampanga and its neighboring provinces due to its multiplier effects. We cannot help but question Mr. Sangil’s motive, especially now that the progress envisioned for the Agency and the airport he once served is on the horizon.

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