Trader wants north-south railway link extended to Clark

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ANGELES CITY -- A tycoon has asked the government to extend the P271 billion North-South Commuter Railway linking Calamba, Laguna in the south and Malolos, Bulacan in the north, to Clark Freeport.

Businessman Rene Romero said the project, which is declared the biggest Public Private Partnership (PPP) "depicts an unwarranted disregard and invalidation of North Luzon’s role in the country's economic growth."

Romero asked the Regional Development Council (RDC) to pass a resolution requesting the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to consider the railway link to the Freeport and Clark International Airport (CRK).


"The big ticket project palpable omission of Clark in the northern link are both disheartening and perplexing when we note that no less than aviation industry savants, economic development experts, architects and planners of global repute and even government executives and legislator acknowledge and enthuse over the Clark International Airport’s globally-acclaimed aviation facilities and its expansive area conducive for aeronautical and logistics hub development," Romero stated in his letter dated July 1, 2014 to RDC Central Luzon Chairman Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado.

"Bakit hanggang sa Malolos lang yung railway? Ang laki ng development sa Clark Freeport at Clark International Airport ngayon," Romero said.

Romero, RDC 3 private sector representative for trade and industry and vice-chairman of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Incorporated (PamCham), added that the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) conceptualized the Clark Green City, a massive and comprehensive development plan capitalizing on the economic expediencies of Clark, Subic, and Region 3.

He also urged the national government to be prudent on spending the tax-payers’ money.

The people were already dismayed by controversies on Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), according to Romero.

PamCham, which is advocating for the decongestion of Metro Manila for the country’s sake, is an organization of prominent and credible businessmen and government leaders pronouncing Clark and Subic as drivers of growth, he said.

Clark airport’s full utilization and development has been predicted by economists and urban planners and developers.

The Freeport Area of Bataan and other investment areas in Central Luzon will ensure the free flow of passengers and goods to and from the Metro Manila, Romero added.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) acknowledged the advantages and potentials of Clark as an economic driver in the North, the trader stressed.

“I believe that for our country to fully realize inclusive growth and sustain its economic gains achieved thus far, the fair and equitable distribution of development and investments in the countryside must be seriously considered and implemented,” Romero said in his letter to Alvarado.

“I also exhort our government agencies to recognize and acknowledge the economic contributions of urban growth centers outside the imperial Metro Manila because the Philippines, after all, is comprised of 17 regions and its economy is congruently propelled and impelled by regional growth, he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 10, 2014.

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