ONE of the pressing national security problems that President Benigno Aquino III is giving priority concern is the secession problem in Muslim Mindanao.
In fact, the second of the first two Cabinet member-appointees of Mr. Aquino is Teresita Deles who will oversee the problem-solving and backroom dialogues with leaders of the Malaysian government, among other amicus curiae involved, in the secession unrest.
A speedy process in the united peace efforts in the South has taken shape with the participation in the multi-lateral peace talks of Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Dato Sri Dr. Ibrahim Saad. His government expressed effective and productive partnership with the Philippines under President Aquino.
Ambassador Saad was a visitor to Clark last Friday where he announced his government's intention to support and endorse a Malaysian consortium of globally-acclaimed firms which proposed to develop DMIA Terminal 2.
The consortium under Bristeel Overseas Ventures has an ambitious plan to also build and establish a Clark City in the Clark area to serve as support facility in attracting and serving the estimated 9 million tourist arrivals when DMIA has become a truly international airport both in active status and capability.
With the Ambassador's positive and optimistic stance vis-à-vis the Muslim Mindanao problem, the Philippine government has been seeking Malaysia's intercession and cooperation. A reign of peace and progress may soon start in the south if the rebellion there finally finds a closure.
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Along with Malaysia, the United States and China have shown serious interest in the fast and full development of the Clark airport. Recent visitors to the next Philippine gateway were US Ambassador Harry Tomas and China's ambassador Liu Lianchao, Both foresaw a great future of the DMIA in global travel.
Andy Tan, president of the Angeles Business Association and Alex Mok, vice president of the Philippine-Korea Association who were among the 200 guests in Bristeel's investment presentation, challenged Pres. Luciano of the Clark International Airport Corp. to direct Bristeel's only rival to the Terminal project to present a similar public manifestation and project profiling to enable the business community in evaluating which of the two proponents is credible, legitimate, and capable for the huge undertaking.
"As stakeholders, among thousands of businessmen in the province, we want to witness a similar presentation so we can compare, and know the people behind the Philco Aero Corp.," the two said. The Philco Aero, whose officials' identities are kept under wraps, is reported to be Luciano's favored contractor-builder.
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Angelo "Sonny" Lopez Jr., Manager of CDC's Public Relations Department whose office coordinated the successful Bristeel affair, said his office welcomes any request for assistance from Philco Aero in the event it decides to make an Investor's Presentation.
His department, Lopez said, is an adjunct to the total CDC program of tourism promotion, investment attraction, and related services to locators and prospective investors.
A win-win solution to the Terminal project impasse is practical, doable and possible if the government is serious in its plan to hasten economic development effort in the region.
As the Malaysian group has passed all joint venture agreement requirements of the CIAC, and has its funds ready to start the project, it can be awarded the Terminal 2 development.
The other proponent that was yet firming up its technical, structural, and financial capacity can construct the proposed Railway within North Luzon Expressway. If it is true that the SMC and MPIC have officially signed up as an entity, then the Pangilinan-led venture group, which has sole rights and jurisdiction over NLEX, can put their investment in building the Railway system.
In that case, when simultaneously started, both projects can hasten the infrastructure required (Terminal and Railway) to service a fully developed international airport.
A top CIAC executive reported that "Luciano's frantic bid for his job retention, however, has put the more qualified and deserving proponent to an obstacle course." And with it, the start of Terminal 2 work put on hold for a long, long, long, wasted time.