CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga—Former Congressman and Vice Governor Yeng Guiao on Monday said the Clark International Airport Corp. is in danger of losing P2.6 billion of its development budget to the national treasury if it doesn’t spend it by December this year.
Guiao said the CIAC’s budget, which is under the General Appropriation Acts of 2015 and 2016, “must be obligated so that it will not be reverted to the national government as provided by the law.”
During a media forum here, Guiao said the approved budget was divided into P800 million for 2015 and P1.8 billion for 2016, respectively. For 2017, CIAC has no budget.
“These budgets must be spent for what they have been approved for, otherwise they will be reverted to the national government this December,” Guiao said.
Considering the government’s public bidding system, “nine months is too short a period to implement the project, specially if the losing bidders will contest the result of the public auction,” he added.
According to Guiao, who worked hard for the CIAC’s budget’s approval during his incumbency as congressman, the P800-million 2015 budget was allotted for the airport’s engineering details and ground work development, while the P1.8 billion was for the actual construction of the airport.
These allocations are part of the P12-billion total budget approved for the airport during the term of President Benigno Aquino III.
The project was approved by the Regional Development Council, Department of Transportation, and National Economic and Development Authority and other approving government agencies, Guiao said.
“I mean there is an available approved budget, and a plan approved by the government. I do not know why it is not being executed,” he said.
Guiao said he had already informed Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, chairman of the RDC, Gov. Lilia Pineda and Alexander Cauguiran, acting president and CEO of CIAC of the available budget for the airport.
He is also planning to meet Congresswoman and former President Gloria Arroyo about the airport funds before they will be transferred to the national treasury.
He said Cauguiran told him: “I am only an employee and I cannot recommend or suggest to my boss [Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade] what to do.”
The two-term congressman of Pampanga’s 1st district said he is “exerting extra effort” because he worked “very hard” since 2013 for the approval of the budget. Guiao lost to Carmelo Lazatin II of the Angeles City clan in the last election.
Vince Dizon, president and chief operation officer of the Bases Conversion Development Authority, said he is also in favor of the development of Clark International Airport, but through a Public Private Partnership and not through government funding.
Dizon said Clark’s development will start in 2019 with a new terminal with a capacity of eight million passengers a year, in contrast to the existing terminal that can only hold 4.2 million passengers a year.