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NAIA consortium says SWS survey shows Filipinos still prefer NAIA

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PHILSTAR

THE CONSORTIUM of seven of the country’s top conglomerates proposing to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) said more Filipinos still prefer the main Manila gateway over its alternatives in Clark, Sangley and Bulacan, citing data from a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in March.

In a statement over the weekend, the consortium said the SWS survey results showed “62% of the respondents wanted NAIA to be retained while 22% were for Clark, 9% were for Cavite, and 6% voted for Bulacan.”

The consortium is hoping to get an original proponent status (OPS) from the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for its proposal to rehabilitate NAIA for approximately P106 billion.

“Only the grant of an OPS is needed for this private proposal to move forward,” NAIA Consortium spokesperson Jose Emmanuel “Jimbo” F. Reverente said in the statement.

He noted the importance of speeding up the process “because every year’s delay will cost the country opportunity losses in terms of trade, investments, and tourism, and the jobs they will generate, among others.”

“We are ready to start construction right after we get the notice to proceed (NTP) and deliver the first phase of expanding NAIA’s capacity by 2020,” he added.

Last month, the DoTr said it has already submitted its recommendation for the NAIA consortium’s rehabilitation proposal to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). If the MIAA approves it, the DoTr will then forward it to the National Economic and Development Authority’s Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC).

Once it secures approval from the NEDA Board, it will then be subjected to a Swiss challenge where other companies may submit competing offers. The original proponent will be given the right to match these offers.

The super consortium is composed of the country’s biggest companies, namely: Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.; AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. Its technical parter is Singapore-based Changi Airports International Private Ltd.

It submitted to the government in February the P350-billion unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate the Manila gateway for 35 years, but has since modified its submission to reduce the cost to about P105 billion to P106 billion and the concession period to 15 years.

Part of its original proposal was to build an additional runway, which has been removed and indicated as just an option for future expansion, said Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Manuel Antonio L. Tamayo in May.

Other elements in the super consortium’s plan is to expand the existing terminals and add new taxiways. This is aimed to up the capacity of NAIA to 47 million in two years and to 65 million in four years.

While rehabilitation of NAIA is still pending, the government is also making an effort to redirect passengers to airports in nearby locations. It is currently bidding for the operations and management contract of the Clark International Airport in Pampanga and is reviewing San Miguel Corp.’s proposal to build a Bulacan International Airport. The DoTr also said it has approved the Cavite provincial government’s proposal to build a Sangley International Airport in the south. — Denise A. Valdez





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