Lazatin pushes CRK upgrading amid P2.9B unobligated funds

Pampanga 1st District Rep. Carmelo “Jon” B. Lazatin II is pumppriming the upgrading of the Clark International Airport (CRK) in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s socio-economic and infrastructure agenda anchored on the theme “Build, Build, Build”.

This amid the reported unobligated P2.9-billion funds earmarked for the Clark airport terminal expansion project,

Lazatin said he filed House Resolution No. 00391 on September 26, 2016, barely three months after he assumed office, urging the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and other related government agencies to fast-track the development of the CRK to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as well as for the greater efficiency of the air and land transportation system in the Philippines.

The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation which, he added, 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 Duterte made sure that his infrastructure plans for the airport would be implemented, including the P2.9 billion terminal expansion project, citing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by the DoTr and Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) to keep the projects rolling before the end of 2016.

The neophyte solon also clarified the P2.9 billion fund was not appropriated in just a single year “as part of it was first downloaded in 2015 amounting to P800 million” and, subsequently in 2016, P2,093,080,000 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 CIAC as well as in lobbying for additional budget for the next phases of the vital P2.9 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”, the lawmaker said.

Lazatin emphasized “the successful implementation of the CIAC projects will be a major boost not only for the First District of Pampanga, but also for the province, Central Luzon, and ultimately, of the entire country.”