By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

CHELSEA Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp. (CLC) has gained the support of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. to pursue its proposed P49-billion modernization of the Davao International Airport.

In a statement Wednesday, the Dennis A. Uy-led company said the Davao City Chamber endorsed its unsolicited proposal for the airport. In October last year, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) awarded original proponent status to Chelsea.

CLC said the Davao City Chamber “appealed” to the DoTr, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Finance, among other agencies, to “vigorously pursue and expedite the ongoing process of reviews and approvals” for the project.

“With the pace of the approval process, we are positive to receive the green light from NEDA soon so we can move forward with development of the primary gateway to Mindanao and the third largest airport in the country,” CLC President and Chief Executive Officer Chryss Alfonsus V. Damuy said in the statement.

But in a text message to BusinessWorld, Transportation Undersecretary for Planning Ruben S. Reinoso, Jr. said the ball is now with Chelsea, as the government is only waiting for a revised concession agreement (CA) to be submitted before the DoTr turns over the proposal to NEDA for evaluation.

“They need to resubmit CA to adopt Clark CA before we endorse to NEDA,” he said, referring to the concession terms for the Clark International Airport.

Asked when the company aims to submit its revised CA for the Davao International Airport, Mr. Damuy was not able to reply as of press time.

Once the proposal is elevated to NEDA for evaluation, it will go through the Investment Coordination Committee, then to the NEDA Board, which is chaired by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The project will then be subjected to a Swiss challenge wherein third parties can submit competing offers, while the original proponent will be given the right to match them.

The company earlier said it targets to get approval from NEDA by July, to hold the Swiss challenge by October and to receive the notice of award before the year ends.