CLARK FREEPORT --- The direction of the government is to develop Clark and Central Luzon.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) head Vince Dizon said that President Duterte clearly acknowledges that Metro Manila has to be decongested.

The only way of decongesting Metro Manila is to develop areas outside including Central Luzon and Clark, according to Dizon.

Duterte is very clear about the development of Clark and Central Luzon, he added. “This coming from the president who hails all the way down South in Mindanao [is really something].”

All the things that the president says, he puts his money where his mouth is, Dizon said. “And I am very proud and happy as a Kapampangan and Central Luzonian,” Dizon said.

A lot of big ticket infrastructure project of the Duterte administration government are going to be centered in Central Luzon and Clark area, the BCDA chief added.

He cited the construction of a P15-billion Clark International Airport (CRK), Manila-Clark Railway, the Clark-Subic cargo railway, the Clark Green City in Capas town, Tarlac province, and others.

“Our most ambitious project today is really Clark Green City,” Dizon said.

The project, which was started by the previous administration, will be pursued by the present government, Dizon said. “Kami sa bagong administrasyon, hindi lang naming itutuloy ito, talagang papabilisan natin ang development nito.”

The development plans, which are now being finalized, are testaments to the government’s commitment to fast track the construction of the Clark Green City, according to Dizon.

The government is working with world-class development and construction companies, he added.

People in Central Luzon will benefit once the project is completed, Dizon said.

Dizon said the government, under the Duterte administration, will pursue the original master plan for Clark airport an annual capacity of 8 million passengers.

Some P15-billion were earmarked for the full development of Clark airport which is eyed as the country’s premier gateway.

The airport master plan was prepared by the Aeroports de Paris (ADPI) in 2012 and was transmitted to the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) in 2013, according to BCDA chief.

The purpose of the airport is “to build for future capacity and not for present capacity.”

“I’m happy to announce to you today that we are going back to the eight-million-passenger per year plan of Aeroports de Paris. It’s 82,000 square meters, it’s a new terminal. And the target for this, nag-usap na kami ni Secretary Tugade because this is a DoTr project and BCDA is there to support this fully, is third quarter awarded na ito so ground breaking tayo ng fourth quarter or early next year,” Dizon said.

The BCDA, together with the DoTr and Neda, are conducting an initial study and revalidation on the mode of funding – Private Public Partnership (PPP) or government funded, the BCDA head said.

After this process, Dizon said the DoTR will proceed to the bidding out of the project. “Yun na lang ang pinag-uusapan ngayon so before mid-year, mga May bidding na tayo, whatever form September awarded tayo dito so game changer ito, ang Clark airport.”

The project is expected to be completed during the half of Duterte’s term in 2019, Dizon said.