Trader urges RDC: Oppose Sangley airport proposal

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


ANGELES CITY -- A businessman has asked the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon to oppose the plan of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to build a new airport at Sangley Point in Cavite.

Rene Romero, vice chair of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham), said the government will spend US$10 billion, which is a huge amount of taxpayers' money.

In his letter dated July 10, 2014 to RDC-Central Luzon Chairman Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Romero asked the council to pass a resolution opposing the DOTC's plan to relocate the country's international airport to Sangley.

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"The recent news report citing the Department of Transportation and Communication’s announcement of the adoption of the Jica recommendation to build Manila’s next international gateway in Cavite, in particular at Sangley Point, on the heels of the public declaration of the P271 billion North to South Commuter Railway linking Calamba, Laguna and Malolos, Bulacan, had ostensibly directed development opposite the North Luzon Regions," Romero stated.

He said that Clark is the best location to build a premier gateway.

"We are baffled by the inclination of our government to spend exorbitant amount of taxpayer's money on the construction of another airport when the manifestly under-utilized Clark International Airport is just awaiting expansion at an almost negligible fraction of the outrageous 10 billion US dollars earmarked for the Sangley airport construction," he said.

The recommendation of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for Sangley as the location of the new international airport "inordinately favors its proximity to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which is claimed to be approximately 20 to 30 minutes away," said Romero.

He said that the DOTC should consider and evaluate other factors like the existing road infrastructures including the North Luzon Expressway, Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway, and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway that provides fast, safe and convenient connectivity between Metro Manila, Clark, Subic, and the rest of the North Luzon regions.

"It is highly improbable that such first-rate road facilities are already in place for the purported Sangley Airport," Romero said.

He also cited the negative environmental impact of the required reclamation of the Bacoor Bay for the possible the extension of Sangley Airport’s single runway. "This is not an issue in Clark because of its existing two concrete runways that can accommodate several international passenger carriers plus room enough for a third runway if and when needed," he said.

Another serious concern is the vulnerability of the Sangley Airport to Super Typhoons similar to Yolanda which PAG-ASA claims will become the normal strength and gustiness of storms visiting the country, Romero added.

"The danger is further intensified by Sangley’s elevation of only eight feet while Clark’s is at 484 feet above sea level," he said.

According to him, Central and Northern Luzon folks are clamoring for the declaration of Clark Airport as an international gateway to North Philippines that will trigger development in the regions.

"I appeal for the Regional Development Council’s intermediation through a resolution opposing the DOTC’s plan to locate the new International Airport in Sangley, Cavite on account of it being unwarranted and unnecessary considering the availability and readiness of Clark’s excellent airport facilities which remains ignored and refused full utilization up to this time," he also stated in his letter.

"Extremely patient and forbearing of the procrastinated declaration and full development of the Clark International Airport as an international gateway to the Philippines, twin and parallel to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I remain steadfast in the belief that one day, our government will eventually realize the wisdom and expediency of our appeal for Clark," he added.

Romero provided copies of his letter to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan, RDC-Central Luzon Vice Chairman Severino Santos, and other officials.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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