ANGELES CITY – The Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM) is calling for the resignation of Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) officer-incharge Alex Cauguiran and his boss, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade.
On Monday, PGKM chair Ruperto Cruz said Cauguiran should resign from CIAC for his failure to initiate moves to “obligate” the funds intended for the expansion of the Clark International Airport (CIA).
“What’s he waiting for?” asked Cruz. “Cauguiran should resign now if he cannot advance the most urgent task to develop the Clark airport that is to utilize the P2.9 billion fund before it is reverted to the general funds and waste several more years for the full and immediate development of the airport.”
“Cauguiran is a former executive vice president of CIAC for a long time and should know exactly what is needed for the development of the airport,” Cruz pointed out.
Cauguiran was also convenor of the Move Clark Now in 2005 and the Advocacy for a Dual Airport Priority (Adapt) early last year which both called for the immediate and full development of the Clark airport, he added.
“Why is he (Cauguiran) silent now?” he asked. “He seemed to know everything and was so noisy about it when he was not connected to CIAC but suddenly turned know-nothing and say-nothing now that he is in position.”
Cruz also said, “Tugade has no business meddling with the Clark airport and should also resign now because of his failure to address the lingering problems of the Land Transportation Offi ce (LTO) on drivers’ licenses as well as vehicles plate numbers.”
Tugade is also under fire over the controversies hounding the common station of MRT and LRT lanes which he initially declared was at no cost to the government but was subsequently to have been projected to cost billions in government funds.
Under EO 64 signed by then president Noynoy Aquino on December 21, 2011, the CIAC was transferred from the Office of the President to the Department of Transportation and Communications which made it an agency attached to the DOTC.
The PGKM assailed Tugade at the time of his incumbency at the Clark Development Corp. for what it called “deliberate sabotage of the Clark airport development.”
Among the issues raised against Tugade was the Capilion project at the very entrance of the Clark Freeport which, PGKM said, constricts traffic fl ow to the freeport and the airport, and the “confi dentiality clause” he invoked whenever asked to divulge contracts the CDC entered with locators.
No to PPP
The PGKM is also against the plan for a private-public partnership (PPP) to implement the master plan of the Clark airport.
Cruz said PPP projects are “too complicated” when in fact “we can already start the bidding right now with the funding guaranteed by the P2.9 billion in the GAA.”
Cruz also expressed fears that “government funds invested in PPP projects can have a way of disappearing in private pockets.”
Former 1st District Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao had said last week that “it seems that nobody is championing Clark” and warned of the impending possibility that the P2.9 billion funds for the expansion of the Clark airport terminal will just be reverted to the general funds by yearend.
Guiao recalled that in 2015 Congress appropriated P800 million for the expansion of the Clark airport terminal for the detailed engineering studies and the ground works.
He said in the 2016 budget, another P2.1 billion was appropriated for the start of the structure itself.
“So there is a total available fund now of almost P3 billion but the problem now is that the budget was appropriated in the 2015 GAA and it has a lifetime of only two years. So if you do not spend that by the end of this year, it will revert back to the general funds,” Guiao explained even if the fund for Clark is “multi-year” which meant that it has a budget every year for fi ve years for a total budget accumulation of P12 to P15 billion, Guiao said.
“But if you fail to obligate the initial P800 million, the rest of the budget will be gone,” he said.
The problem now is nothing was allocated for Clark in 2017, he lamented. “But if we can allocate funds for Clark in 2018, work could start only in the following year or by 2020 and by that time we have lost five years when we can already start now,” he said.
Guiao met with Cruz over-the-weekend to discuss the urgency of prodding key government officials to obligate the Clark airport funds before it’s too late.
Guiao said 10 months is very short. “The processes in government are very slow so parang nag hahabol na tayo ngayon (…it’s like we are already catching up because we’re pressed for time),” he said.
However, a source from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said there was a release of P800 million for Clark Airport in 2015 and it was transferred to CIAC per memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) which meant that the fund is already obligated.
The DBM source said in 2016, the release of another P2.09 billion was again obligated with a MOA between CIAC and DOTr in addition to the 2015 funds.
Guiao said upon learning of the new development, he immediately called up Cauguiran who denied the information from the DBM source.
“E tutu (It’s not true),” Guiao said.
Guiao said Cauguiran told him the funds are not yet obligated and that he is just an employee and he will follow whatever instructions will be relayed to him.
“I cannot tell my boss what I want to do because it will look that I know better than him,” Guiao said quoting Cauguiran.
Meanwhile, Cauguiran did not reply to text messages asking for his reaction.