Philippines: Transport Veteran to become Secretary of the Department of Transport

A couple of days ago, new President-elect, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, named four members of his would-be cabinet. In his initial list the Department of Transport would go to Arturo Tugade.

Tugade was until recently the Chief Executive Officer and the President of Clark Development Corporation, a government owned and control corporation (GOCC) under the Office of the President of the Philippines tasked to manage the Clark Freeport Zone.

Clark Freeport Zone is a former US base gien back 25 years ago to the Philippines Government. It includes among others golf courses, resort and an airport which has been earmarked as the low cost airport for Metro Manila, located 70 km away north of the Philippines capital. The airport with its 22 km2 of dedicated space, has been seen for long as the future major gateway to replace the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport in town. Funding is channeled to build a new terminal for 10 to 15 million passengers and a fast train connection to Manila city. However, athough being approved by the National Economic Development Authority, nothing has moved with the new terminal while the much promised rail connection is still a distant dream. All of these slowdowns in development turned Clark into an inconvenient air gateway to reach Manila. it could all change if Tugade is confirmed as a State Secretary for Transport and Communication.

Tugade could indirectly give further impetus to the “It is More Fun in the Philippines” marketing campaign which helped the country to pass the mark of five-million international tourists. Tourism remains highly dependent of efficient means of transport and transportation infrastructure. The incoming Duterte government confirmed already that it would still be a priority.

Under Tugade, the Clark Freeport area has turned also into a tourism destination. In the past few years, the Clark Development Corporation favoured the implementation of new resorts, casinos, entertainment parks, sport facilities, restaurants and small museums. The area is well known from Golf players as Clark hosts three world-class golf courses. Clark is indeed positioned as a prime  destinations for sports tourism and MICE activities in the Philippines.

More developments are planned with t(he development of the Clark Green City Project dubbed as the first business and residential satellite town in the Philippines built on environment-friendly and sustainable criteria. The future city is due to welcome in the long-term over a million inhabitants and become Luzon multi-modal transportation and business hub surrounded by magnificent hills and nestled along parks and green spaces.