By Emmie V. Abadilla
The issues of the $12-billion Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) should be resolved urgently.
Private proponents are now lobbying for the government not to dilly-dally on the project after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier this month gave the Cavite local government until mid-2019 to resolve the issues on its own unsolicited proposal for the SPIA.
The private proponent’s $12-billion proposal is still an option for the government, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade confirmed.
The Sangley Airport Infrastructure Group, Inc., a consortium led by Solar Group’s All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. (ARRC), submitted an unsolicited proposal to build the Philippine Sangley International Airport for $12 billion.
But while the DOTr has not yet rejected the Solar Group’s proposal, the government is hobbled by the Cavite government’s unsolicited proposal to develop the Sangley Airport which is still pending with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
“Under the rules, if there is a government to government offer and there is a private offer, the priority is the government offer,” Tugade underscored.
Definitely, the Cavite government offer takes priority over any other options.
“The Cavite government unsolicited proposal still pending in Neda. The issue is still the (source of) funding,” he specified.
Problem is, the national government would not help the Cavite government in financing the project, he maintained.
Last January, the NEDA returned the Cavite provincial government’s unsolicited Sangley Airport proposal because of the unclear implementing arrangement for the project.
The Cavite provincial government submitted its full feasibility study for the airport project to Neda on Dec. 17, 2018.
Nevertheless, the June, 2019 deadline is “a reasonable period” to resolve the issues on the Cavite government’s airport proposal, Secretary Tugade reasoned out.
“By middle of this year, they should have a decision on it, one way or the other.”
For their part, the private proponents are drumming on the urgency of developing the SPIA as an alternative gateway to the country on 2,500 hectares of existing and additional reclaimed land north of Sangley peninsula in Cavite.
The SPIA can decongest the country’s main international gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) which currently services 87 percent of all Philippine air traffic and accommodates 40 million passengers annually even if its maximum passenger capacity is only up to 31 million.