By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is issuing an ultimatum for the Cavite local government to finalize its proposal for the long-delayed $12-billion Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) project by June, this year.
“We don’t want a hanging offer,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade emphasized. “Ultimately, we should impose a deadline. If they leave the offer dangling, when do we get to start the project?”
“I’m talking to them (the Cavite local government), I will put a deadline. There should be some deadline,” he added, maintaining that a June, 2019 cut off is “a reasonable period.”
“By middle of this year, they should have a decision on it, one way or the other.”
The Cavite provincial government submitted its full feasibility study for the airport project to National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Dec. 17, 2018.
But last January, the NEDA returned the Cavite provincial government’s unsolicited Sangley Airport proposal because its implementing arrangement for the project was unclear.
Last Tuesday, the DOTs also give ultimatum to the NAIA Consortium, composed of the country’s 7 largest conglomerates, to finalized until the end of next month its P102-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) rehabilitation plan with the government.
In September last year, the DOTr and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) granted Original Proponent Status (OPS) to the NAIA Consortium for its proposal to rehabilitate, upgrade, expand, operate and maintain the airport for 15 years.
NAIA has a design capacity of 31 million passengers but it accommodated 42 million in 2017 and which is expected to go up to around 47 million by 2020, and to 52 million by 2022.
“If we get the clearance to start work by late 2018, we can increase this capacity to 47 million by 2020 and to 65 million by 2022. There will be enough space for everybody and NAIA can serve as a catalyst for growth all over the country in terms of trade, tourism and investments,” according to Jimbo Reverente, consortium spokesperson, after the state granted them the OPS.
Earlier, the 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.
The ARRC proposed a concession period of 50 years for the Sangley International Airport and offered to rehabilitate the Danilo Atienza Airbase and use it as an emergency airport alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Under the proposal, the project will start with the reclamation of 2,500 hectares of land north of the Sangley peninsula which will be used for the development of airport infrastructure and a commercial establishment to complement the project.
Sangley airport would be designed with two parallel independent runways and sufficient airside and terminal capacity to accommodate future demand for the domestic and the international traffic, not only for the Philippines but also for Southeast Asia.
Problem is, the government’s hands are tied.
“Under the rules, if there is a government to government offer and there is a private offer, the priority is the government offer,” Tugade confirmed.
The Cavite government offer takes priority over any other options.