MANILA, Philippines — The government is eyeing the transfer of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from Metro Manila to Clark, Pampanga, Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II told a Senate hearing on Monday.
Roxas said the 440-hectare NAIA, if privatized, would amount to $2.5 billion.
“And that in effect will pave the way for the transfer into Clark,” he told the Senate committee on finance.
“But the key to the transfer is the high speed rail because without that, it really becomes very inconvenient,” said Roxas.
The issue only cropped up in the hearing when Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile asked for the latest updates on the government’s North Rail project with China.
Roxas informed the committee that the government was able to convince the Chinese leaders to reconstruct the contract to correct its many “weaknesses, deficiency or flaws.”
“The corrections that we will be working on will include the Philippines will be the one to write the terms of reference versus the existing situation. The Philippines will insist on a contractor with substantial rail construction experience,” he said.
At that point, Enrile raised the possibility of transferring the international airport to Clark once the project becomes successful.
“It will be beneficial to the country because it will link Central Luzon specially Clark with Metro Manila. We can transfer the international airport to Clark and leave the present international airport for further development,” said the Senate leader.
“Senate President, that’s the direction that the President has directed us to work towards,” Roxas answered.