DESPITE lengthy delays in groundbreaking, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said the P734-billion Bulacan international airport project of San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC) would still push through.

Umuusad naman bagamat dahan-dahan ‘yung Bulacan airport project,” Mr. Tugade said during a virtual briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday.

(The Bulacan airport project is progressing although it is slow.)

He added: “Sa akin pong kaalaman, ini-inform po ako, na nag-uumpisa na ho sila ng tinatawag na site survey at site relocation, ito po ‘yung pangunguna upang mapausad at maumpisahan na po ang proyekto. Meron na pong ginagawa d’yan ngayon.”

(I was informed that they are now preparing for the project by starting with site survey and site relocation. There are already activities being carried out.)

Mr. Tugade also said that the originally scheduled January groundbreaking for the airport project did not materialize due to “private issues” of San Miguel Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Transportation chief did not give a new schedule for the groundbreaking of the project.

The Bulacan airport project involves the construction of a 2,400-hectare airport with four parallel runways (expandable to six runways), eight taxiways and three passenger terminal buildings.

The project also includes the construction of an 8.4-kilometer toll road that will link the gateway to the North Luzon Expressway.

The airport is targeted to have an annual capacity of 100 million travelers, which the government hopes will help decongest Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

The first two runways are expected to be finished in three years at the earliest, while the rest are to be completed in four to five years. — Arjay L. Balinbin