By Denise A. Valdez
THE PROPOSED airport project of the Cavite local government is now in the hands of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), a top official of the government unit said.
In a text message on Monday, Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin C. Remulla said he is scheduled to meet with the NEDA soon to discuss their plan to turn the former US naval facility at Sangley Point into an airport.
“We will meet with them soon,” Mr. Remulla told BusinessWorld, adding their proposal is “not the conventional mode.” He declined to provide further details.
Last week, Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Antonio L. Tamayo told reporters the unsolicited proposal of the Cavite government is off the hands of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for now, after it gave last year its no-objection letter to the proponent. The letter was issued given that the project will not require any guarantee, subsidy or equity to the national government.
“It has been in NEDA. I’m not really aware of its completeness, kasi may mga requirements pa na pinapaayos sa kanila (because there are requirements being asked from them),” Mr. Tamayo said.
Transportation Undersecretary for Planning Ruben S. Reinoso, Jr. said on Monday the DoTr was given a copy of the Cavite government’s proposal, which indicated a price of around P508 billion.
“They just said (they’re tapping a) Chinese firm. They submitted (the) proposal directly to NEDA,” Mr. Reinoso said in a text message when asked for details of the proposal.
He added that while the NEDA is dealing with the proposal at the moment, the approval of the DoTr may again be sought, “only if there are DoTr and attached agencies undertaking.”
Mr. Reinoso had earlier said the Cavite government’s proposal may choose to follow several legal frameworks to move forward, such as one that fits a local government code or the Build-Operate-Transfer law. Whatever the Cavite government will choose will determine the involvement of other government agencies in the project.
Aside from the Cavite government, private group Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group, Inc. (SAIG) also submitted a $12-billion unsolicited proposal to develop an airport in Sangley, but this was put on hold to prioritize the government-to-government transaction.
The construction of a new airport in Sangley is intended to complement the DoTr’s plan to reduce congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which currently serves most flights from Metro Manila and nearby regions.