By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is giving the Cavite government until mid-2019 to resolve the issues on its unsolicited proposal for the over P500-billion development of an international airport in Sangley Point.
The private proponent’s $12-billion proposal is still an option for the government, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade confirmed to reporters recently.
“The Cavite government unsolicited proposal is still pending in NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority). The issue is still the (source of) funding.” The national government would not help the Cavite government in financing the project, he pointed out.
Last January, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) returned the Cavite provincial government’s unsolicited proposal to build a new Sangley international airport because of the unclear implementing arrangement for the project.
The Cavite provincial government submitted its full feasibility study for the airport project to NEDA on Dec. 17, 2018.
The June, 2019 deadline is “a reasonable period” to resolve the issues on the Cavite government’s airport proposal, Secretary Tugade underscored. “By middle of this year, they should have a decision on it, one way or the other.”
The DOTr has yet to reject the proposal of Solar Group’s All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. to develop an international airport in Sangley Point, Cavite, he added.
Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group Inc., a consortium led by Solar Group’s All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. (ARRC), submitted an unsolicited proposal to build the Philippine Sangley International Airport for $12 billion.
“Under the rules, if there is a government to government offer and there is a private offer, the priority is the government (offer),” according to Tugade. Hence, the government offer takes priority over any other options.
But when asked if DOTr is still considering the private proponent, Tugade responded, “Of course.” However, the government option should not delay the development of the Sangley airport.
“We already completed the asphalt overlay of the runway. We believe in the value of the Sangley Airport and my strategy is we will not wait. I’m also in discussion with the private proponent since I’m already improving the runway. So, if they get the project, they should reimburse the government for the cost but we will not delay the repair of the runway.”
Another crucial portion of the ARRC development plan is the rehabilitation of Danilo Atienza Air Base which will later be used as a general aviation airport to decongest Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals during the project development phase.
The rehabilitation of Danilo Atienza Air Base will complement the NAIA, which is also subject of a proposed rehabilitation and expansion by the NAIA Consortium composed of Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., AEDC, Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
The ARRC proposed a concession period of 50 years for the Sangley International Airport.
Their project will start with reclaiming some 2,500 hectares of land north of the Sangley peninsula to be used for the development of airport infrastructure and a commercial establishment to complement the project.