Cavite scouts for new Sangley airport project partner

The provincial government of Cavite (PGC) yesterday ( February 15, 2021) issued its second invitation for new bidders for the $10-billion Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) after ditching previous bid awardee, Lucio Tan's MacroAsia Corp. and China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC) before the end of January.

Aspiring PGC partners for the airport have to cough up a non-refundable participation fee of P1 million for the bid documents within one month (from March 1 to March 30) and submit their joint venture proposals on May 4.

The bid documents contain instructions, draft joint venture and development agreement plus project feasibility study, with schedules and updates.

Those who bought bid documents for SPIA's first competitive selection process in October 2019 are required to submit a new expression of intent and pay P25,000.

“The province of Cavite reserves the right to accept or reject any JV proposals, and to discontinue the second competitive JV partner selection process,” the PGC invitation stated.

The PGC joint venture partner will co-develop the 1,500-hectare master-planned SPIA, providing equity investment, debt financing, and credit enhancements.

In addition, the chosen joint venture partner takes responsibility for the engineering, procurement and construction services of SPIA's land and airport development.

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.

The project, however, has long been beset by problems. Last month, the PGC cancelled the bid award to the consortium of MacroAsia Corp. and CCCC whose subsidiaries the US blacklisted CCCC as security risks.

The Cavite local government also began having doubts about MacroAsia's financial capability.

The tandem of MacroAsia and CCCC was the sole bidder for the airport project.

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

Furthermore, even the capability of the Cavite provincial government to build the $10-billion international airport 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.