THE proposal of San Miguel Corp. to develop an “aerotropolis” in Bulacan, along with the Clark airport expansion project got the final nod of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III revealed late Friday that the NEDA Board approved the concession agreement for the P753.63-billion international airport project in Bulakan, Bulacan proposed by San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC).
Dominguez also said that the proposed expansion of Clark International Airport, specifically for its operations and maintenance concession, was likewise approved by the NEDA Board during its meeting Friday.
“The NEDA Board just approved two contracts for the airports in which there’s absolutely no guarantee from the government,” Dominguez said in a gathering of Department of Finance (DOF) staff at their headquarters in Manila.
Dominguez said the DOF had meticulously scrutinized the two contracts particularly the ambitious Bulacan airport to ensure the government would not incur unwarranted contingent liabilities, like what happened to the Mactan Cebu airport contract.
“If you compare the guarantees that were given to the Cebu contract comparing to what we have for the Clark and the Bulacan, you will see the big difference from before,” Dominguez said.
“We’re going to get close the contract in Clark, and the contract for the Bulacan airport with no government liability at all,” he added.
In the case of the Mactan Cebu airport, Dominguez pointed out that it earned P1.1 billion last year, which was 48 percent higher than the P752 million projected net income during the appraisal stage done to secure the NEDA Board approval for the project.
“And yet, the government still made the commitment that there will be no other competing airports in Mactan and Cebu. Now, should the Government, later on, want to build a new airport in the area, we would be required to reimburse not just market value of the infrastructure assets, but also the future profit of the commercial business until the end of the concession,” Dominguez said.
Following the final NEDA Board approval, Dominguez said the Duterte administration expects to complete the Swiss challenge on the Bulacan airport project by the first quarter next year.
The Bulacan airport is the largest among the infrastructure projects approved by the NEDA Board this year that once completed, the facility should help ease congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
San Miguel’s proposed new international “aerotropolis” involves an airport covering 1,168 hectares and a city complex to be built at a 2,500-hectare area along Manila Bay in Bulakan, Bulacan.
The planned 50-year airport project will entail building six parallel runways with an initial annual capacity of 100 million passengers, or over triple NAIA’s capacity.
San Miguel’s airport project will be subject to a Swiss Challenge under government rules, meaning other groups will be invited to make competing for offers, with the original bidder given the right to match any better proposal.
The Philippines, one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, is trying to improve infrastructure such as roads, ports, railways and airports with the help of the private sector under its $180 billion “Build, Build, Build” program.
Source: Manila Bulletin