By Ariel Fernandez
Construction work for the Bulacan Airport is set to commence before the end of the year.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has concluded the Swiss Challenge for the unsolicited proposal of San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC)
In the opening of bids conducted by the DOTr’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), there were no rivals to challenge the original proponent for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the international airport.
DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation Giovanni Lopez, who also leads the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), said that the Notice of Award to SMHC will be issued immediately after a recommendation from the Technical Working Group (TWG) is made within three days. It will then be submitted by BAC to the DOTr Aviation and Airports Sector within five days.
“On the notice of award, there are some conditions that should be complied with. These include post performance security, proof of commitment, among others as stated in the law. They (SMHC) have 20 days to do so,” explained Lopez.
Once the Notice to Proceed is issued between August and the first week of September, the SMHC shall then be in charge of the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the Bulacan Airport.
DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said he is closely monitoring the progress of the airport project.
“This new international airport is important in helping ease the congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Together with the expansion of Clark Airport and the construction of additional facilities at Sangley Airport, Bulacan Airport is part of the ‘baskets of solutions’ to bring further connectivity to the Filipino people,” Tugade said.
DOTr Undersecretary for Planning and Project Development Ruben Reinoso, Jr. noted that the Bulacan Airport is part of a larger regional development plan for Central Luzon.
“Along with other big-ticket infrastructure projects such as the Clark Airport expansion, North-South Commuter Railway, MRT-7 and the Subic-Clark Cargo Railway, the Bulacan Airport will help boost economic development in Region III,” Reinoso said.
The Bulacan Airport will have a design capacity of 100 million passengers per year but can be expanded to 200 million. With its projected four parallel runways, it targets 240 aircraft movements per hour. The project will also include the construction of an 8.4-kilometer toll way that will connect the airport to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Marilao, Bulacan.
The new international gateway is expected to be operational in four to six years from the start of its construction. SMHC is expected to break ground and start the actual construction of the project before the end of this year.
Those who were present in the Opening of Bids were other BAC members: DOTr Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Mark Steven Pastor; Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General for Administration Ricardo Banayat; Procurement, Planning and Management Division Chief Zenaida Biteng, and Budget Division OIC Marco Antonio Javier.