By APD writer Melo M. Acuna
MANILA,Sept.13(APD)– Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has expressed surprise over the absence of American investors in the flagship infrastructure project of the Duterte Administration to develop the Clark Freeport Zone. It will be recalled Clark used to be an American airbase and is projected to be the country’s big metropolitan area.
In a statement released by his office, it was reported Secretary Dominguez met with US State Department Asst. Secretary Manisha Singh and talked about the absence of American investors in the bidding for the New Clark City development project.
It may indicate American investors “have no interest” in taking part in the Philippines’ economic emergence that is founded on its massive “Build, Build, Build” program.
Secretary Dominguez told Ms. Singh, who handles the State Department’s economic and business affairs, that he had asked the same question before members of the US-ASEAN Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (Am-Cham) in his separate meetings with them earlier this year.
He pointed out that the Philippine government, which funds the transformation of the former US military base into New Clark City, announced the public bidding for the project before the international community, but no American companies took part in the bidding process.
“Last time I spoke with (members of) the US-ASEAN Business Council and the US Chamber here, I asked them one question. Why did they not bid for the project in Clark? The refurbishment of the Clark airbase is down with our own finds. The project is around 250 million dollars. We bid this our around this time last year,” Dominguez told Singh during their meeting.
He added the Philippines welcomes American companies here “as their investments would prove beneficial for the country’s fast-growing economy.” He further said some American companies have submitted bids but only for the design component of the New Clark City project.
“Maybe they don’t have an interest here,” Dominguez told Singh according to the statement released to the media earlier today.
Ms. Singh said she will speak with leaders of American infrastructure companies and tell them about the immense investment opportunities in the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration.
She was quoted saying “we could like to participate, we would like to engage.” There might have been some “disconnect” that needs to be rectified to ensure that US companies are aware of the opportunities in the Philippines, she added.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)