Duterte plans AED3billion airport, rail for ex-US base makeover

The Philippines plans to award at least $1 billion (over AED 3 billion) of contracts to build an airport and a railway to transform a former US military base into a commercial hub as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s push to distribute wealth outside congested Manila. The Bases Conversion and Development Authority wants these and other major infrastructure projects for the area to be awarded by the second half of 2017 and for most to be completed as early as 2019, its Chief Executive Officer Vince Dizon said in an interview in Makati City. The authority will decide by the first quarter of next year whether to invite bids to build or operate the infrastructure, or do both, he said. “We want the investment community to know that this government isn’t just about addressing crime and drugs,” Dizon, 43, said November 11. “We’re also here to build, build and build.” Duterte, who won the presidential election six months ago, is lifting infrastructure spending to a record and allocating resources away from the capital, Manila, where traffic and transport logjams cost the economy at least 2.4 billion pesos (over AED 179 million) a day. His government is attempting to fast-track development of the planned Clark Green City, which was carved out of the former Clark Air Base used by US forces during World War II. It received just one bid last year to develop part of the proposed alternative capital city. At 9,450 hectares (23,000 acres), Clark Green City would dwarf the main financial district of Makati in metropolitan Manila, home to the nation’s stock exchange and banks’ headquarters. (Siegfrid Alegado and Cecilia Yap/Bloomberg)

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