Pampanga First District Rep. Carmelo “Jon” B. Lazatin II is pushing for the upgrade of the Clark International Airport (CRK) which is seen as a viable alternative to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Lazatin said he filed House Resolution No. 00391 in September last year, urging the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and other concerned government agencies to fast track the development and upgrading of CRK to help decongest the NAIA as well as for the greater efficiency of the air and land transportation system in the Philippines.

He said the resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation which is included in a draft consolidated House Bill, the Traffic Crisis Act, intended to address the current air and land traffic congestion in Metro Manila and other key urban centers, and at the same time, to generate employment and livelihood projects in Central Luzon.

Although the proposed measure is yet to be enacted, Lazatin said President Rodrigo Duterte made sure that his infrastructure plans for the airport would be implemented, including the PHP2.9 billion terminal expansion project. 

The neophyte solon also clarified that the said PHP2.9 billion fund was not appropriated in just a single year “as part of it was first downloaded in 2015 amounting to PHP800 million” and, subsequently in 2016; PHP2,093,080,000 was included in the General Appropriations Act for the building of a new terminal at CRK.

“The downloading of the funds is in process, in accordance with budgetary rules and regulations,” Lazatin said, adding that this will be done by phases.

Lazatin brushed aside reports that he is “doing nothing” to release the much-needed funds, stressing that he is actively involved in various discussions during meetings of the Committees on Transportation and on Bases Conversion and Development in Congress where he is a member.

He said that he is steadfast in securing the downloading of the standing appropriations for the CIAC as well as in lobbying for additional budget for the next phases of the vital PHP2.9 billion project.

“I am inviting the various stakeholders of the airport project and the general public to join me in closely monitoring the downloading of the subject funds as well as the subsequent implementation of projects included in the said appropriations,” he added. (PNA) FPV/ZST/MDDR