Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas expressed support for Clark as the site of the country’s new premier airport during highly applauded speech on Wednesday before members of the Makati Business Club and the Management Association of the Philippines.
“Why Clark? Clark is 2,000 hectares while NAIA is 440 hectares,” Roxas said. “It’s not much rocket science to figure out.”
Roxas said that three parallel runways can be built in Clark while NAIA is already limited by its configuration.
“What’s the difference? NAIA, 440 hectares only. Intersecting runways- 0624, that’s the long runway and then the one heading to Baclaran is called 1331. So if you’re using one, you cannot use the other. There is a limitation to what NAIA can produce,” Roxas said.
He said that the country’s premier airport has to be moved out of the metropolis because the country is growing. “We are 100 million people. We are a country that is looked up as the Bright Star in Asia. So, we need to step up as well,” Roxas said.
At the same time, Roxas stressed the need to build a high-speed rail in developing Clark as the country’s new airport.
“We need to do that because there is now new airport without having that high-speed rail system” he said.
Roxas said that along with the high-speed rail, an elevated highway must be constructed between the National Capital Region and Clark.
“You can get there (Clark) in 35 minutes,” he said.
As this developed, Pampanga First District Representative Joseller “Yeng” Guiao has lauded Roxas for reiterating his preference for Clark as the country’s premier airport.
“I know he means business,” Guiao said, “because he has repeatedly given that position in my private conversations with him and in his public engagements where the issue of Clark is raised,” he said.
Guiao, who has been dubbed as Mr. Clark by fellow lawmakers in the House of Representatives, said the people of Pampanga and Central Luzon should support Roxas for the presidency on May 9.
“He truly deserves our votes because his plans for Clark hew perfectly with our plans for the future in terms of making our province and region more progressive, highly developed and totally beneficial to our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Roxas indicated that full development of Clark and the construction of related infrastructure like the high-speed rail and elevated highway could be financed from the sale of the NAIA, which he estimated worth $8 billion.