'More fun' catchy but tourism needs infrastructure

Posted at 05/02/2012 4:23 PM | Updated as of 05/02/2012 4:23 PM

De Ocampo says Clark should be main gateway to Manila

MANILA, Philippines - The "It's More Fun in the Philippines" campaign is catchy, but former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo said the government needs to drop taxes on airlines and make Clark the main gateway for Manila for tourism to flourish.

De Ocampo said Congress needs to replace the common carriers tax as soon as possible in part for airlines to resume direct flights to Europe.

Earlier this year, KLM ended the last direct flight from Manila to Europe, blaming the imposition of the tax for its decision.

"There are no more direct flights to europe because of our common carrriers tax. We have to get rid of that as soon as we can," de Ocampo told ANC's Business Nightly.

The former Finance Secretary said the government should make Clark the main gateway to Manila to reduce congestion and delays in the air, runways and terminals of the capital's airport. The government is also urged to build an airport express to link Clark and Manila.

"We have to get cracking about moving the international airport perhaps to Clark and then infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure that has to be the point of concentration," de Ocampo said.

De Ocampo said he thinks the government has learned from last year when reviewing project proposals delayed spending and helped drag economic growth.

"Delays can happen because of corruption, but delays can also happen if there is well intentioned paralysis by analysis. It's the latter they should be watchful about and avoid... An imperfect decision is better than no decision at all," he said. - ANC