PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday pushed for more public-private partnerships (PPP) as he called on investors to take part in the Philippines’ economic resurgence.
In his speech during the opening of the new terminal building of the Clark International Airport (CRK) in Mabalacat City, Pampanga, Marcos renewed his commitment to ensuring that the government would do everything so that partnerships would benefit the public sector, the private sector and the people.
This is as he expressed confidence that the CRK’s new passenger terminal building and other PPP projects would encourage investors to do business in the Philippines.
“This is a perfect example of what government and the private sector can do. And you can see that if it’s only the private sector, they wouldn’t be able to accomplish this. If it’s only the government, they wouldn’t be able to do it, either,” he said.
Citing his working visit to the United States last week, Marcos recalled how he invited American businessmen to invest in the Philippines.
“It is the message that we tried to carry when we were in New York. Outside of the United Nations, we met with many businessmen, CEOs, heads of corporations. The idea was to tell them we are willing to change in terms of documentation , procedure, even structure, even legislation, to encourage you to come into the Philippines,” Marcos said.
“Again, the simple message that underlay all that we did was that the Philippines is here, we are a good place to invest, we are probably the most vibrant economy in Southeast Asia, and we understand the requirements and the needs of our potential investors . We will do everything so that that partnership becomes to the advantage of both the private sector, the public sector, to the people,” he added.
Marcos acknowledged how some businesses and investments had to be put on hold due to the Covid-19 health crisis, but noted that the country is now slowly recovering from the impact of the pandemic.
“Now that the problem of the pandemic seems to be easing, maybe it’s time to go back to our plans regarding [these kinds] of PPP projects,” he said.
The President cited the CRK’s new passenger terminal building, which he said, is a “strong signal” to the world that the Philippines is open for business.
“This facility is essentially a very strong signal that yes, indeed, we are open for business. We just opened a new terminal. It is state-of-the-art and this is one of the things that we will continue to do in the future to bring you all to come and be partners with the Philippines to help the lives of our people, to help the Philippine economy and improve the lives of Filipinos,” he said.
He also expressed optimism about the new facility serving as a “building block” to the government’s goal of turning the Philippines into the “logistics center of Asia.”
“The general idea that [Tourism] Secretary Christina [Garcia-Frasco] and the Cabinet and I have come to is that while we have not yet improved our airport in Manila, while we have not yet started operations of our airports in Bulacan and Sangley, our proposal is to open our regional airports,” Marcos said.
“We need this, we need more, we have many plans for the airport in Manila, we have many plans for the airports surrounding Manila, so that more tourists would find it easier to enter the country,” he added.
The CRK’s 10,000-square-meter passenger terminal building, which can accommodate around eight million passengers, aims to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila.
It is the first hybrid PPP project under the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
In January 2021, the Department of Transportation and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority turned over the new airport terminal to Lipad Corp., its operations, and maintenance partner.