IN A historic pact brokered by Philippine President Mr Fidel Ramos, six wealthy Filipino-Chinese businessmen have agreed to form a consortium to fund major infrastructure programmes in the Philippines. Details of the pact were released last Friday while Mr Ramos was on a one-day visit to Hongkong. It was his first visit to the territory as president. Each of the six businessmen will contribute 100 million pesos (about HK$30 million) and additional funds will be sought through the public sector. The six are beer and tobacco magnate Mr Lucio Tan; Mr Henry Sy, owner of the Shoemart department store chain; Mr John Gokonwei, owner of Robinson's shopping centres; Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco; Mr George Ty, owner of Metro Bank; and tycoon Mr Andrew Gotianum. Observers said the fact that the six had sat together in one room and put aside long-standing rivalries was a historic development in itself as they generally hardly speak to each other. An initial meeting was held recently at the Peninsula Hotel in Manila, and follow-up talks were held with Mr Ramos during his trip to Beijing last week. Mr Ramos said no government money will be involved. ''But we will make sure they are true to their word.'' The consortium has proposed to fund a number of projects including power generation, telecommunications, tourism and transportation. It will also go public as a corporation at a later date and set up a Manila office. ''We don't have any definite projects in mind yet,'' Mr Yuchengco told the the Sunday Morning Post. ''We will bring people in to study the proposals first.'' The construction of a new international airport for Manila will be the first project by the consortium. Initially, the group was eyeing a site at the former United States Air Force base in Cavite City, but Mr Ramos appears to have convinced them to consider the defunct Clark air base at Angeles City. Mr Yuchengco said Cavite City was under consideration, but that the final site selection will be left up to Mr Ramos and the other experts. Clark has been widely discarded as a potential site for an international airport because of its distance from Manila and, and its proximity to Mt Pinatubo - an active volcano. While in Hongkong, Mr Ramos played down the negative aspects of Clark. He said the airfield is a safe distance from the volcano. ''We now know the lava flow and the volcanic ash [from Mt Pinatubo] are reducing steadily. The position of the airport will be above the flow of lava,'' Mr Ramos said. He added that conversion plans favoured Clark for the site of Manila's airport because it is only about 60 kilometres from Manila. Mr Ramos said travel time between Manila and Clark could be reduced by the construction of a new super highway to replace the congested North Expressway.