Manila, Philippines – Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III confronted the United States over American investors’ seeming lack of interest in the Duterte administration’s ambitious infrastructure program.
In a meeting with Assistant Secretary Manisha Singh of the US State Department, Dominguez said the absence of American investors in the bidding for the flagship project to develop the Clark Freeport Zone, a former United States military airbase, indicates they “have no interest” in the Philippines’ aggressive infrastructure plan.
Dominguez said some American companies have submitted bids but only for the design component of the New Clark City project, which the Philippine government sees as the nation’s next big metropolis.
“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,” Dominguez told Singh.
“The project is around 250 million US dollars. We bid this out around this time last year,” he added. “Maybe they (American businessmen) don’t have an interest here.”
Singh, in response, said she will speak with leaders of US infrastructure companies to tell them about the immense investment opportunities in the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration.
“We would like to participate, we would like to engage,” Singh said, noting that there might have been some “disconnect” that needs to be corrected to ensure that US companies are aware of the opportunities in the Philippines.