The Americans have not actively sought participation at the proposed New Clark City development program of the government that had been touted to cost more or less $14 billion.
Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III noted the absence of American investors in bidding for the development project, saying the former site of the air and naval facilities of the United States should soon transform into a growth center.
The former United States military base is among the flagship infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration consistent with its ambitious Build, Build, Build program.
Dominguez noted the American absence in his meeting with Assistant Secretary Manisha Singh of the US State Department last 31 August 2018.
He previously inquired about their absence in his separate meetings earlier this year with members of the US-ASEAN Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines.
“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 done with our own funds. The project is around 250 million US dollars. We bid this out around this time last year,” Dominguez told Singh.
The Philippine government announced a public bidding of the project to the international community but that even then not one American company showed up.
According to Dominguez, 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.
In response to this, Singh said she will speak with leaders of US infrastructure companies in regard to the immense investment opportunities attached to the country’s Build, Build, Build project.
Singh further said there might have been some “disconnect” that needs to be addressed in ensuring US companies’ awareness of these investment opportunities.
She also said she will explore possible tie-ups between US and Japanese companies in support of the development project.
Dominguez told Singh the New Clark City would be complemented with the development of the Clark International Airport, which will include a new passenger terminal and possibly a second runway. This new metropolis will have a new backup government center, world-class sports facilities and industrial estates.
He also welcomed Singh’s statements on the progress of negotiations on the US-Philippines free trade agreement, with a new meeting set soon between the trade officials of the two countries.