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Duterte eyes road network to Clark airport

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is considering building a road network leading to Clark International Airport while mass transportation projects are being worked out.

"Kung magawa na lang tayo ng daan, si [Transportation Secretary] Art Tugade, 'yung isang bagong daan papunta sa Pampanga airport para doon na lang 'yung flights na domestic?" he said during his first official Cabinet meeting on Thursday, June 30.

(What if we make a road, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade, a new road going to Pampanga airport so that some domestic flights can be transferred there?)

Duterte said the road was a "native idea" of his. He seemed to be floating the idea to his Cabinet secretaries.

He said this may be one way to solve congestion of Manila airports until bigger transportation projects are finished.

"If we can have a road until we can have the new whatever, then just transfer flights to Pampanga so they don't clog airports here. The best in the meantime is one road network that will be geared towards Pampanga and Clark so we can use it," he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Previously, Duterte recommended building a fast train linking Manila to Clark Airport to encourage travelers to use the airport.

Duterte said he is also considering previous proposals to build a new airport in Sangley Point, Cavite, but is not certain if government has enough funds for such a big project.

"I really do not know if we have enough money to build a new airport in Sangley. Kung may papasok na may pera, e di sige, wala tayong problema diyan (If there is money, okay, we don't have a problem there)," he said.

But he is sure of one thing.

"We have to remedy the overcrowded skies of NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport)," he said.

The idea of building a new international airport in Sangley Point was strongly considered during the Aquino administration. A study by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency identified the area as ideal for an airport that can handle the number of passengers currently using NAIA. 

NAIA, with its 32 million passengers per year, is the busiest airport in the country. Congestion in its terminals is frequently blamed for flight delays. There have been sustained calls for government to open another airport in order to free up NAIA. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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