NEW YORK (Feb 27) — Secretary Edgardo D. Pamintuan, Presidential Adviser on External Affairs and Chair of the Subic Clark Area Development Council, gave a briefing on recent economic developments to select leaders of the Filipino community at the Kalayaan Hall, Philippine Consulate Friday night. He told them that the Philippines is “no longer the basket case of Asia”.
In his briefing, he cited the various achievements and development projects which the government is undertaking. Among which are the expansion of roads and highways, the upgrading of hospitals, the Kamanava flood control project, port development, deployment of water treatment plants, the rehabilitation of the Philippine National Railways and the automation of customs transactions.
He also said the Diosdado Macapagal airport at the former Clark Air Base in Angeles, Pampanga has better runways and radar systems and can accommodate the biggest airplanes in the world, including the Airbus 380. It has since become a hub for budget international airlines catering to overseas Filipino workers from Central and Northern Luzon.
In addition, the secretary said the government is also looking into expanding the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from one runway into four to meet international standards.
Pamintuan, who hails from Angeles, Pampanga, also oversees the Luzon Urban Beltway Corridor. He said the expressway which links Subic Port in Olongapo to Tarlac cuts travel time to a maximum of 30 minutes. Clark, he said, is being developed as the center of infrastructure development citing the presence of Texas Instruments, SIA Engineering, UPS and Rolls Royce.
“We are trying to create a seamless network of multi-modal transport-oriented infrastructures that would promote greater efficiency in the movement of goods, services, people and information,” Pamintuan said, adding that these projects would greatly reduce the cost of doing business.
He encouraged the audience to visit the Philippines noting that every tourist spends an average of $1,000. “This creates an informal employment opportunity,” he said.
After the New York visit, he proceeds to Chicago Sunday; afterwhich, his next destination is Los Angeles. They will also meet with Filipino American community leaders in San Francisco on March 14.
Pamintuan is accompanied in his trips by Alexander Caulguiran, Executive Vice President and Chief Operation Officer of the Clark International Airport Corporation, Undersecretary Danilo de Austria Consumido and Director Leonard Kirk Galanza of the Office of External Affairs of the Office of the President.