Monday, February 17, 2020

Duterte last flight as president to be from Sangley

President Duterte has vowed to use Sangley Airport in Cavite when he takes his last flight to his home city of Davao as Chief Executive.

Duterte, who goes home to the southern city on weekends, led last Saturday the inauguration of the Sangley Airport development project, which aims to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the country’s major aviation hub. During the event, Duterte recalled his campaign promises on corruption and illegal drugs and noted that he only has two years left in office. After declaring that he won’t allow massive private sector reclamation projects in Manila, he talked about his last flight as President.

“But me, I’m just two years away and I will go home and pack up and use the flight from my – last flight, as long as it will not go down there in the sea,” he said. “I will take my last flight as President to Davao. I will use this airport.” The P486-million project is one of the key projects under Build, Build, Build, the Duterte administration’s ambitious infrastructure program.

The airport is 100-percent operational and is being used for general aviation.

The project involved the construction of a new terminal building that can accommodate 160 passengers. The terminal building is equipped with flight information display system, closed circuit television, X-ray, and baggage handling and weight conveyor. The airport’s runway was also upgraded and now has precision approach path indicator lights and air ground lighting system.

This year, the transportation department allotted P500 million to improve the airport’s drainage system.

Duterte also witnessed the presentation of the Sangley Point International Airport Project, a 1,500-hectare masterplanned international airport hub that can serve up to 130 million passengers per year. The Cavite provincial government has awarded the initial phase of the project to the consortium of state-run China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. and MacroAsia Corp.

Duterte apologizes for outburst
In the same speech, Duterte apologized to aviation sectors for his outburst over the congestion at the NAIA.

“There was this crisis. Was it last June? They piled up. And I’d like to apologize for my outburst... Simply because there was really a crisis... At the very least, I was trying to sort out if there is a small problem,” the President said. “And so I told (Transportation Secretary) Art (Tugade), ‘Art, this son of a b**** NAIA, just let the runway explode so we won’t have any problem and everyone will just land (in) Clark,” he added.

Duterte also heaped praises on Tugade, saying the transport chief is capable of completing the tasks assigned to him. The Chief Executive said Tugade, his former classmate at San Beda College of Law, was a cheapskate but competent and bright.

While corruption eats into government funds, the airport development project proved that the prudent use of resources could go a long way, according to the President. “So, tayo may pera. Nagagamit lang kasi diyan ’yung corruption. Pero ito. Kita mo si Art (So, we have money. It often goes to corruption. But look at Art). So, I asked him, ‘How much did you spend for this?’ He said, ‘P700 million.’ ‘Oh, really?’” he said.

“Look what P700 million can do in the hands of a competent, a bright Ilocano, a cheapskate,” he added.

‘Do not tempt the gods of the Cabinet’
Duterte also warned government officials involved in corruption, saying he won’t hesitate to shame them and to strip them of their businesses. “Let’s try to sort out something for the remaining years of my term. One is that I try to keep... Talagang hihirit ako rito (I will speak out). Believe me – men in government. T*** i**, hihiritan talaga kita (Son of a b****, I will really speak out against you),” he said.

“You know, I can really slap you. You know I can kick you in front of secretaries. Do not try to tempt the gods of the Cabinet, Not me. Do not do it,” he added.

The President also noted that corrupt officials won’t benefit from their wealth when they die. “You will not only lose your business, you will lose your – not only your pants, but your entire... What will you do with your money when you die? Who will benefit? Your widow? Her lover? That’s the way it is... If you go abroad, you have two to three mistresses,” he said.

“Let’s try to coast along. At least... during my time, kindly avoid corruption... I have the shortest fuse when it comes to corruption,” he added. Duterte reiterated that no government transaction involving money passes through his desk.

“That is why I tiptoe. I tiptoe in the path of the presidency. You know why? Because if I criticize corruption, I will really hit you and I will humiliate and I will shame you. And I will not give you that pleasure of getting back at me,” he said.

“I really said I don’t want it. (Finance Secretary Carlos) Sonny (Dominguez), Tugade. It’s your project. Do it. If you fail, you answer to me. It begins and ends in your desk,” he added.