By Chrisee J.V. Dela Paz

Sangley Point feasibility study out by April

Posted on September 02, 2014

A FULL feasibility study (FS) on the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) recommendation to use Sangley Point as the location for a replacement to Manila’s dilapidated main international airport is expected to be completed by April next year, a Cabinet official said.

“That project will take time as it is a very huge one. We’re expecting the full FS to be done by seven and a half months from now, then we will proceed to the NEDA-ICC (National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee) and NEDA Board. Once it is cleared, you can bid it out,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya said at the sidelines of a Senate hearing yesterday.

Mr. Abaya stressed that the Transportation department will finalize its overall airport strategy before it submits a formal presentation to President Benigno S. C. Aquino III. Until then, the agency is open to other proposals, such as the reported plans of the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) group.

“Sangley is the final recommended location by JICA, but until we receive the full FS, proposals, of course, can always be submitted by anybody. As of now, no one has submitted any proposal outside of Sangley,” the Transportation chief explained.

Last year, All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. (ARCC) -- where Solar Group is the lead local partner -- had already presented an unsolicited full feasibility study on locating an airport at Cavite’s Sangley Point.

To recall, SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang submitted plans for the $10-billion airport project last May 14 to the Office of the President, with the conglomerate also telling the local bourse that the build-operate-transfer project would be located along the Manila-Cavite coastal road and waterfront reclamation site in the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas.

In June, JICA presented the results of its own analysis, which showed Sangley Point in Cavite as the most viable location for the country’s new international gateway. The Japanese agency’s proposed Sangley airport would cost around $10 billion. A part of the analysis is a funding proposal from JICA, which is to use a public sector-official development assistance (ODA) and public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

“How to fund the huge project will be part of the study. It is not yet finalized. Probably hindi kaya ng (it can’t be funded through) PPP solely; it will probably require ODA, national budget and a PPP component as well,” Mr. Abaya explained yesterday.

The Transportation chief added that Mr. Aquino has ordered the construction of a third runway at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), initially pegged at P2.4 billion, to help ease air traffic congestion.

“We’re now focusing on the facilitation of the completion of the third runway, we are proceeding with the feasibility study and will work on NEDA Board approval,” Mr. Abaya said, adding that the government is looking for ways to complete the runway’s construction before Mr. Aquino’s term ends.

Currently, NAIA has a 3.4-kilometer primary runway and a shorter intersecting runway.