THE United States, China and Malaysia have offered to have shown great interest in developing to the maximum the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark Freeport.

In his recent visit and first to Clark Freeport, American Harry Thomas Jr. was visibly impressed by various and latest improvements at DMIA and at the same time expressed that the local airport has "tremendous" potential to generate trade and development.

The American Ambassador expressed the belief by many officials, both local and foreign, that DMIA has the potential to become the premier international gateway of the country. In fact former President Arroyo has designated DMIA as the Premier International Gateway of the country.

Lately, a number of diversion flights have been made from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Metro Manila.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Several such diversionary flights have shown the capability of DMIA and viability of DMIA to handle bigger volumes of flights.

DMIA has two parallel runways compared to NAIA's single runway.

On the other hand, China's Ambassador Liu Lianchao has also vowed to the development of the Clark Airport. He said he has invited Chinese businessmen to invest for the development of the DMIA.

Lianchao said he was impressed by the latest developments at the DMIA.

In Addition, Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Ibrahim Saad and a Malaysian consortium offered here on Friday officials of Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) to "level the playing field" in developing the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) Terminal 2 expansion project here.

Speakers led by Malaysian Ambassador during the "investors presentation -manifestation for DMIA Terminal 2" considered as an "incomplete" and "defective" certain proposals for the Clark airport's Terminal 2 expansion project.

They didn't seem that there was a leveled playing field in some proposals in the development of DMIA terminal 2 expansion project, said Ronnie Gaudiel, Philippine representative of Malaysian consortium BriSteel Overseas Ventures Inc. (BOV), referring to the decision of the CIAC Board to accept the proposal of another consortium, Philco Aero Inc.

Guadiel said BOV is a Malaysian consortium consisting of public listed conglomerates and government-linked corporations that aims to infuse $150 million in investments "in tandem with the Philippine government's Foreign Investment Policy."

In December 2009, BOV submitted a proposal for the development and expansion project of the DMIA Terminal 2 through a joint venture agreement with CIAC. Since then, Gaudiel said BOV had complied with the submission of all the documents required by Joint Venture Selection Committee (JVSC) Chair Romeo Dyoco Jr. of CIAC.

But despite their compliance with the JVSC requirements, Gaudiel said the Board favored Philco Aero as being "more financially superior."

CIAC president Victor Jose Luciano, in a May 25, 2010 letter to BOV managing director William Chee, said: "We wish to inform you that during its regular meeting on 17 May 2010, the CIAC Board of Directors resolved to accept the proposal submitted by the Philco Aero Inc. for detailed negotiations after it was deemed as the superior proposal based on the comparative presentation of submitted proposals submitted by the JVSC."

However, Guadiel lamented that the Board accepted Philco Aero's proposal despite the absence of a written resolution from the CIAC's Joint Venture Selection Committee (JVSC).

"We have learned that what the JVSC submitted to the Board on 17 May 2010 was just a comparative presentation on the proposals submitted by Philco Aero and BriSteel Overseas Ventures which did not even [have] any comments or remarks from the JVSC," Gaudiel noted.

Also, documents obtained by Gaudiel showed that two of the airport's Board of Directors even wrote CIAC chair Nestor Mangio a memorandum saying "the CIAC's Board discussion over the matter was singly focused on the 'superiority' of Philco Aero's proposal based on its financial/revenue offers to CIAC vis-à-vis the submitted proposal of the Malaysian consortium..."

The memorandum further cited the following: "Philco Aero's consortium has ceased to exist at the time the CIAC Board accepted its proposal; the financial capability of Philco Aero to undertake the project was not established; Philco Aero's track record and experience to undertake and operate the project was not established; and Philco Aero's proposed technical designs and plans are no longer feasible."

"We believe that these issues should have been clearly discussed and addressed, not during the detailed negotiation phase of the JV process, but before the acceptance of Philco Aero's proposal that is clearly incomplete and defective, more so, in view of the presence of a more complete and valid proposal submitted by BOV," the memorandum read.