SAN MIGUEL Holdings Corp. (SMHC) has committed to shouldering the costs for right-of-way acquisition and local government permits for its proposed New Manila International Airport in Bulacan in order to secure the go signal from the Department of Transportation (DoTr).
San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President Ramon S. Ang said SMHC volunteered to pay for these expenses just to reach an agreement with the government.
Sabi ko, halimbawa sagutin na namin lahat ito, sagot na namin yung pagbabayad ng right-of-way, sagot na rin namin yung local government, in short sagot na namin lahat… para wala na tayong pag-aawayan. Dun nagtatapos yung usapan na five hours na yan [I said, if for example we shoulder everything, we shoulder the costs for right-of-way, we shoulder the costs with the local government, in short we shoulder everything… so we would end this argument. That’s how the five-hour meeting ended],” Mr. Ang said during the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel on Thursday.
SMHC submitted to the government an unsolicited proposal for the P735-billion New Manila International Airport, which would involve the construction, operation and maintenance of a 2,500-hectare alternative gateway in Bulacan with an annual capacity of 100 million passengers.
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said the DoTr is set to issue a Certificate of Successful Negotiation for the Bulacan airport project.
He said their target is to get the approval from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and complete the Swiss challenge before the year ends.
“(Next week), mag-iissue ako ng Certificate of Successful Negotiation. Then on that basis pupunta na sa NEDA. Hahabulin ko pa rin yung deadline ko [I will issue the Certificate of Successful Negotiation next week. Then on that basis, it will go to the NEDA. I will try to follow my deadline],” Mr. Tugade told reporters after the business conference.
SMHC’s proposal for the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan has been pending final approval since April, when the NEDA first conditionally approved the project.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III previously said the financial backing of parent company SMC is needed to give the final go-ahead for the project, as SMHC’s total equity of P60 billion in 2016 was deemed insufficient to pursue the project cost if it followed a 70-30 debt-to-equity financing mix.
SMC had said then it is willing to follow the advice of the finance chief to follow a Joint and Several Liability Agreement with the proponent, and just needs the concession agreement to be finalized with the DoTr first to fix the plan. — Denise A. Valdez