By Denise A. Valdez
METRO PACIFIC Tollways Corp. (MPTC) said it may consider building an extension from the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) connecting to the Danilo Atienza (Sangley) Air Base once the government firms up plans to use the gateway for commercial purposes.
MPTC President Rodrigo E. Franco told BusinessWorld over the weekend the company may look into a spur road from Cavitex linking to the air base in Sangley Point, Cavite, as the government boosts discussions on expanding the use of the gateway.
“Cavitex can build a segment that will extend to Sangley. But the project will depend on the plan of the government for the airport. If there is a definite plan for the commercial use of Sangley airport, Cavitex can build the extension,” he said in a text message.
This as the Department of Transportation (DoTr), through an order from President Rodrigo R. Duterte, pushed plans to open the Sangley air base for general aviation flights by November.
In the same discussions, the DoTr raised road congestion as a problem in utilizing the Sangley air base for more flights. It said it is studying opening a ferry system from Mall of Asia in Pasay City to Sangley Point as a solution to the problem.
If MPTC pushes through with the extension, the Sangley air base may be connected to the tail of Roxas Boulevard through the 14-kilometer Cavitex.
However, the DoTr is firm on moving to Sangley the general aviation flights, or non-commercial flights that include operations such as business jets and pilot training flights
To open the Sangley air base for commercial operations — which is the premise MPTC is keen on seeing — a proposal from the city government of Cavite is currently being reviewed by the national government. This plan intends to add more runways to the Sangley facility to handle larger aircraft.
Outgoing Cavite 7th district Rep. Jesus Crispin C. Remulla told reporters in March the local government is raising P200 billion (about $3.8 billion) through a bond float to finance its $10-billion airport proposal.
It earlier submitted the plan to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for evaluation, but Transportation Undersecretary for Planning Ruben S. Reinoso, Jr. said the Cavite government has now decided to take on the route of a local public-private partnership (PPP) for the project.
“They said they’re going to implement it under the local PPP Code,” he said in a text message to BusinessWorld yesterday.
Mr. Remulla earlier said the Cavite government was in talks with Chinese firms that may come in as investors and contractors for the Sangley airport project, but the focus is to find local banks for its financing.
MPTC is the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp.
Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.