Cavite LGU cancels award of $10B Sangley Airport to MacroAsia-CCCC

Published January 27, 2021, 1:36 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

The local government of Cavite has cancelled its award of the $10 Billion Sangley International Airport (SIA) project to the consortium of tycoon Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corp. and China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC), which the US blacklisted for militarizing islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Last year, the consortium won the bid to undertake the SIA with the Cavite provincial government.

However, the consortium was unable to comply with conditions in its Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the local government.

The consortium sought three extensions to complete its requirements as it was hindered by travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

Its latest 90-day extension lapsed.

The SIA was being touted as an alternative to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), with quadruple the latter’s capacity at 130 million passengers per annum.

But the project has long been beset by problems.

The US has blacklisted CCCC subsidiaries last year, deeming them as security risks.

CCCC owns 60 per cent of the consortium and SIA’s closeness to Manila makes it a national security risk although a Palace spokesman last year confirmed the project would continue despite the US sanction against CCCC.

In addition, the Cavite local government began having doubts about MacroAsia’s financial capability.

In the wake of the pandemic, Tan’s company, which has 40 per cent stake in the consortium, lost almost P900 million in the first three quarters of 2020 after being profitable the year before.

But even the capability of the Cavite provincial government to build the USD$10 Billion SIA has been questioned.

Last year, an infrastructure-oriented think tank invoked Congress to review the Cavite government’s SIA project to determine whether conflicts exist with national agencies.

The result of the bidding for the Sangley project raises red flags on the viability of the project, as only a single proponent submitted a proposal, they pointed out.

The tandem of MacroAsia and CCCC was the sole bidder for the SIA to be developed in partnership with the provincial government of Cavite.

Infrastructure firms of some of the country’s largest conglomerates bought bid documents for the airport but did not participate in the bidding.

Coordination with transport agencies to ensure the success of the project seemed ambiguous as well.

As of this writing, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) has not issued an official statement regarding the cancellation of the project award to the Macro-Asia-CCCC consortium.