GRAND OPENING. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. delivers his message as he leads the grand opening of the Clark International Airport new terminal building in Clark Freeport, Pampanga on Wednesday (Sept. 28, 2022). He cited the importance of public-private partnership in delivering crucial infrastructure developments in the country. (Photo courtesy of BCDA)

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday acknowledged the importance of public-private partnership in the delivery of crucial infrastructure developments in the country.

In his speech during the grand opening of the Clark International Airport (CRK) new passenger terminal building here, Marcos said the modern and state-of-the-art facilities of the airport are a perfect example of what the government and the private sector can do.

The President likewise emphasized the importance of public-private partnership to leverage the assets of both the government and the private sector.

"This is an extremely important event for several reasons. Eto yung laging namin pinag-uusapan na PPP (public-private partnership). How do we leverage the assets of the government? How do we leverage the assets of the private sector? How do we put it together and get a synergy out of it. And so, this is a perfect example of what the government and the private sector can do," he said.

The Chief Executive is optimistic that CRK’s new passenger terminal building and other PPP projects would encourage investors to do business in the Philippines.

"This is one of the things that we will continue to do in the future to bring you all to come and be partners with the Philippines, to help the lives of our people, to help the Philippine economy," he added.

The project, which was funded in 2015 and broke ground in December 2017, has a total cost of PHP19.25 billion.

The management and operations of Clark International Airport were awarded to and being undertaken by the Luzon International Premiere Airport Development (LIPAD) Corp., a private consortium composed of Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Inc., Philippine Airport Ground Support Services Inc., and Changi Airports Philippines (I) Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Changi Airports International.

For his part, LIPAD chairman and president and chief executive officer of Robinsons Land Corporation Frederick D. Go, said, “We are so grateful that His Excellency is inaugurating this new terminal today and signal to the Philippines and to the world that the new CRK is open for business. Our goal is to continue working towards expanding our network above pre-COVID levels, connecting Clark to more domestic and international points. CRK has started to chart new growth rates, with the recent return of international and domestic travel.”

LIPAD and Filinvest Development Corporation director Francis Gotianun , on the other hand, shared three things that the CRK represents, which he called the 3Ps – “promise fulfilled through the full commercial operations of the airport, partnership which is LIPAD’s investment in CRK representing the company’s participation in nation-building, and finally, the passion of the men and women who remained steadfast and kept the wheels running despite the difficulties posed by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, BCDA president and chief executive officer Aileen R. Zosa said the CRK is a game-changer as it is seen to bring immense benefits to the economy.

Aside from boosting the tourism industry, Zosa said the new terminal, which is a joint project of the BCDA and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), will help further strengthen the Subic-Clark Corridor’s position as a major logistics hub in the country, making this region more attractive to local and foreign investors.

"The presence of this airport is also expected to create 150,000 new jobs for Filipinos, spanning different sectors and supporting industries, such as the hospitality, food and beverage, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors, just to name a few,” Zosa said.

BCDA chairman Delfin Lorenzana said: "Today, we have this modern, state-of-the-art terminal that will immensely improve the way Filipinos travel – a terminal where all travelers will feel like they are VIPs. This is not just a distant dream anymore, it is our reality."

The opening rites wrapped up with a feast featuring Central Luzon cuisine, highlighted by delectable Kapampangan dishes, which have distinctively put Pampanga among the best places to be visited and experienced by travelers and food enthusiasts. (PNA)