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Sep 14, 2018 @ 14:17

Dominguez confronts American investors on lack of interest in his pet project Clark City


Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has questioned the absence of American investors in the Duterte administration?s flagship infrastructure project to develop the Clark Freeport Zone, a former United States military airbase, into the country?s next big metropolis.

In a meeting with Assistant Secretary Manisha Singh of the US State Department, Dominguez said the absence of American investors in the bidding for the New Clark City development project could indicate that American investors ?have no interest? in taking part in the Philippines? economic emergence, anchored on the ?Build, Build, Build? program, the Department of Finance revealed in a statement Thursday.

He told Singh, who handles the State Department?s economic and business affairs, that he had asked the same question before members of the US-ASEAN Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham) in his separate meetings with them earlier this year.

The finance chief pointed out that the Philippine government, which is funding the transformation of the former US military base into New Clark City, had announced the public bidding for the project before the international community, but no American companies took part in the bidding process.

?Last time I spoke with (members of) the US-ASEAN Business Council and the US Chamber here, I asked them one question. Why did they not bid for the project in Clark? The refurbishment of the Clark airbase is done with our own funds. The project is around $250 million. We bid this out around this time last year,? he told Singh during the meeting.

Dominguez informed Singh that New Clark City would be complemented with the development of the Clark International Airport, which will include a new passenger terminal and possibly a second runway. This new metropolis will have a new backup government center, world-class sports facilities, and industrial estates.

Dominguez had publicly declared his bias for Clark City after declaring that San Miguel’s Bulacan airport project would dampen real estate values in his pet project which has Duterte crony, Dennis Uy, as the biggest investor.

Singh said she would explore a possible tie-up between US and Japanese companies in investing in New Clark City.

Dominguez said the Philippines welcomed US companies here, as their investments could prove to be beneficial to the country?s fast-growing economy. According to him, some American companies have submitted bids but only for the design component of the New Clark City project. ?Maybe they don?t have an interest here,? Dominguez told Singh.

Singh, in response, said she would speak with leaders of US infrastructure companies to tell them about the immense investment opportunities in the ?Build, Build, Build? program of the Duterte administration. ?We would like to participate, we would like to engage,? she said, noting that there might have been some ?disconnect? that needs to be corrected to ensure that US companies are aware of the opportunities in the Philippines.

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