Cavite govt weighs termination of Philippines' Sangley airport deal

Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla answers queries about the Sangley Point International Airport during interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer in Makati City. - PDI

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN): The Cavite government is considering cancelling the award granted last year to a Chinese-Filipino venture for the initial phase of the P500-billion Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) — a new gateway meant to decongest Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

A draft document from the province’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Selection Committee, which was seen by the Inquirer, showed a recommendation to terminate the Feb 12, 2020, award to the consortium of China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC) and taipan Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corp.

The committee said the CCCC-MarcoAsia consortium repeatedly failed to “fully and completely” comply with its conditions, which were not detailed.

The document, which was not dated and unsigned, said the local government would rebid the project and CCCC-MacroAsia was not barred from participating again.

Cavite Gov Jonvic Remulla confirmed the draft document came from their selection committee but said it was an “unofficial submission.”

“The committee presented an unsigned recommendation,” Remulla told the Inquirer.

“They gave their first evaluation in an unofficial basis. Being unofficial, it is for me to read and evaluate their first findings,” he said.

Remulla declined to say if he agreed with the findings and that he would leave it up to the Selection Committee to make a final report.

“I will wait for a signed recommendation,” he said.

The SPIA, a project conceived and implemented by the provincial government of Cavite, would be one of the country’s biggest infrastructure projects and involves the reclamation of about 1,500 hectares of land on Manila Bay.

The entire airport complex is meant to support up to 130 million passengers a year or more than four times Naia’s existing design capacity. The initial phase will involve building capacity for 25 million passengers a year.

But it has yet to begin because of delays in formalisng the joint venture between the local government and CCCC-MacroAsia.

The PPP Selection Committee said in its draft recommendation the consortium had sought three extensions since receiving the award for the project. These were on March 17, June 8 and Aug. 12 last year.

CCCC-MacroAsia said it could not complete the requirements due to travel restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In its Aug 12 request, CCCC-MacroAsia sought another 90 days from the resumption of international travel with China.

But in the document, the Selection Committee said they learned from the Civil Aeronautics Board on Dec 28, 2020, that commercial air travel to and from the Philippines and China “did not totally or officially cease during the period of the pandemic.”

Thus, the latest 90-day extension had lapsed, the Selection Committee said.

The SPIA has faced obstacles beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. This principally involves the risk it poses to national security given its proximity to Manila.

Remulla has stood by CCCC even after its subsidiaries were included in a United States sanctions list on Aug 26, 2020, for building militarised islands in the West Philippine Sea.

He instead pointed to the economic benefits of having a new international airport in Cavite. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network

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Philippines , Cavite , Sangley , airport , cancel


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