THE PROVINCIAL government of Cavite said it is now looking at a bond float to help finance construction of a $10-billion airport at Sangley Point.

Cavite 7th district Rep. Jesus Crispin C. Remulla said the government is looking to raise P200 billion (about $3.8 billion) for the airport project by forming a consortium with some of the biggest banks in the country.

“We’re looking towards getting an independent financial consultant to make sure that our financial framework is viable… We are looking towards a bond float to start everything out, with the province as one of the initiators of the bond float,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“Initially we’re looking at P200 billion, which should be enough,” he added, noting the local government may “tweak” the proposal to fit a tighter budget.

The Cavite government submitted its Sangley airport proposal to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) last year that seeks to add two runways at the former US naval facility. It also indicated a partnership with a Chinese firm. NEDA returned the proposal to the local government earlier this year because of lack of financial details.

Mr. Remulla said on Wednesday that Cavite’s government had since moved to iron out the financial aspect of the project. “We had initial talks already, but we have to finalize our plan to have an independent financial consultant so we can form the consortium that can actually plan out the financing and the sharing and the feasibility, the actual feasibility with money on the table,” he said.

He added he wants the project to be a Filipino endeavor for now. “The Chinese may come in as investors and contractors, but right now, we’re looking towards local financing because there’s too much controversy regarding China money, so we might as well… There’s enough money in the country for that.”

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade had said he would give the Cavite government until mid-2019 to finalize its airport proposal, after which the Department of Transportation (DoTr) might consider other options.

“I’m talking to them and I told them I will put a deadline. I’m thinking within the year. Mid-year or… There’s got to be some deadlines,” he said in a media briefing on Tuesday.

Sought for his reaction, Mr. Remulla said he “respects” the deadline of Mr. Tugade, but he is “not sure” if the local government will be able to meet it.

“It’s good that he has a deadline. But definitely, we are looking at what would be best for the moment and for the future. We cannot just submit something that is not thoroughly vetted out,” he said.

“We will have to resubmit a new proposal to NEDA and DoTr, hopefully before June 30.” — Denise A. Valdez