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Cavite government’s Sangley airport plan gets green light from Transportation dep’t

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PHL Japan airplanes
Philippine Navy personnel wave Philippine and Japanese flags in front of one of three Beechcraft TC90 aircraft donated by Japan after they arrived at the Naval Air Group headquarters at Sangley Point in Cavite in this March 26 photo. -- AFP

THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DoTr) has given the green light to the Cavite provincial government’s plan to build an airport at the former US naval facility at Sangley Point, Cavite.

“We conveyed to them that we have no objections to their proposal, under the condition that they have to coordinate with the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines on the utilization of the air space,” Transportation Undersecretary for Planning Ruben S. Reinoso, Jr. said in a telephone interview on Sunday, adding that the project should not require a sovereign guarantee.

“Because it’s a transport project for an international airport, they need the endorsement of the DoTr. They cannot proceed on their own… It’s a go, so they now have to comply with the requirements for approval.”

The P552.018-billion project has two phases, according to the document Cavite’s provincial government submitted to the DoTr, with the first segment estimated to cost some P208.487 billion and the second, P343.531 billion.

With no objection from the department, Mr. Reinoso said the next step is for the provincial government to secure endorsement of the Philippine Reclamation Authority for the planned reclamation work and secure final approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board that is led by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

PRIORITY
On the separate $12-billion unsolicited proposal from private group Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group, Inc. — a consortium formed by Solar Group’s Wilson Y. Tieng and tycoon Henry T. Sy, Sr. — Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade told reporters in Clark Freeport on July 17: “Under the rules, kung merong dalawang ‘yan, our priority is government to government (Under the rules, if there are two proposals, our priority is government to government).”

The Cavite government submitted its proposal for a Sangley international airport to the DoTr in February.

The planned airport is one of the ways the government is considering to decongest Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which itself will be rehabilitated and upgraded in order to handle more passengers and more flights.

The proposal of the consortium of seven major companies to rehabilitate and upgrade NAIA is now up for approval by the MIAA board, which will then endorse it to the NEDA board for final green light. It will then undergo a Swiss challenge, opening it to competing proposals from other groups. The seven companies that comprise the NAIA consortium are Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.; AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

Aside from Sangley, the government also plans to redirect more passengers to Clark International Airport in Pampanga whose operation and maintenance contract is targeted for award in August.

San Miguel Corp. has also submitted a proposal to build, operate and maintain an international airport in Bulacan at an estimated cost of about P735 billion.

The current government has embarked on a more aggressive infrastructure development drive in a bid to fuel overall economic growth to a faster 7-8% pace till 2022, when Mr. Duterte ends his six-year term, compared to a 6.3% average in 2010-2016 under former president Benigno S. C. Aquino III. — Denise A. Valdez