CLARK FREEPORT -- Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said more airports will result in commercial competitiveness, which is beneficial to the riding public.
Tugade made the statement when he approved the Notice to Proceed for San Miguel Aerocity Inc. for the construction of the Bulacan International Airport.
He said the Bulacan Airport aims to enhance the mobility and connectivity of air-riding Filipinos through an additional choice of gateway.
"Ang mahalaga po diyan ay 'yung pasahero, 'yung riding public. Alam niyo 'ho kung bakit? Pagkat kung meron nang Bulacan Airport, NAIA at Clark Airport, let it be a battle of commercial competitiveness. And if it becomes a battle of commercial competitiveness, who benefits? It is the riding public, because the riding public will be given a freedom of choice," Tugade said.
"Pwedeng mamili kung saan gustong paliparan. Pwedeng mamili kung saang comfort and convenience ang tutukuyin niya. Ito 'ho 'yung mahalaga dito. It's all about comfort. It's all about convenience. It's all about putting life to the President's wish and desire for a comfortable life for Filipinos," he added.
Tugade's announcement came after the signing of the concession agreement for the airport development project.
Tugade and San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon Ang signed the contract, which covers a 50-year concession period.
Under the agreement, San Miguel will undertake the financing, design, construction, supply, completion, testing, commissioning, and operation and maintenance (O&M) of the new international gateway.
With a design capacity of up to 200 million passengers annually and plans for four parallel runways, the Bulacan International Airport is seen to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and complement the operations of Clark International Airport (CRK).
Ang expressed hopes that the airport will help boost economic growth in Central Luzon.
"This will really benefit our people and it will create a lot of business opportunities for Filipinos. It will bring so much foreign tourists," the SMC top honcho said.
"Pagtulungan po nating gawin ito, sapagkat gaganda ang buhay ng mga kababayan natin," Ang added.
SMC is expected to begin construction before the year ends, with a target to commence airport operations in four to six years.