The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) will seek President Aquino’s go-ahead to start the construction of a new terminal building at Clark International Airport, while awaiting the Transportation department to determine the best way to bid out the light rail system going down south to Dasmariñas, Cavite, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said on Friday.

During the meeting of the Neda investment coordination committee (ICC) cabinet committee last Thursday, the officials approved the development of Clark International Airport’s low cost carrier passenger terminal building, which will be built by the government, Balisacan told reporters on the sidelines of a public-private partnership (PPP) financing forum.

This building project at the Clark airport would be tabled at a still unscheduled Neda Board meeting for the President’s approval, Balisacan said.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) had said that this building would cost P7.2 billion and would be able to accommodate about 15 million passengers.

Also tackled during the Neda-ICC cabinet committee meeting was the proposed construction of the P64-billion Light Rail Transit (LRT) 6 project, which Balisacan said was approved “conditionally.”

The Neda chief explained that the DOTC was looking at tapping other PPP options for its rollout.

In a separate interview, PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao told reporters that the DOTC initially pitched to bid out LRT-6 via a build-transfer-operate and manage scheme, but the agency last Thursday said it was exploring a build-transfer scheme instead.

Canilao said the build-transfer scheme may be more expensive and risky, hence the DOTC must show proof that such a scheme remained viable before the ICC forwards the LRT-6 project to the Neda Board.

LRT-6 will be an extension further south of the LRT-1 Cavite extension project, which will run from Parañaque City to Bacoor town in Cavite province.

The 19-kilometer LRT-6 was planned to have seven stations in between Bacoor and Dasmariñas City.

The Philippine government had already awarded nine PPP projects and there are over 50 more in the pipeline.

By Ben O. de Vera