Sangley airport project will continue

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing on September 1 | Photo from Presidential Communications Operations Office
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque during a virtual press briefing on September 1 | Photo from Presidential Communications Operations Office

The P208-billion Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) project will push through despite US blacklisting of one of the project proponents, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

The US has blacklisted 24 Chinese state-owned companies, including SPIA proponent China Communications Construction Company Ltd. (CCCC), for allegedly “enabling” China to reclaim and militarize disputed outposts in the South China Sea. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. also earlier suggested government terminate contracts with these companies.

CCCC is a partner of MacroAsia Corp. for the SPIA project

“I will be categorical: Sangley Project will continue; all other projects involving Chinese companies that are banned in the United States can continue in the Philippines,” Roque said in a September 1 briefing. “We are not a vassal state of any foreign power and we will pursue our national interest. Ang pang-nasyonal na interes po natin ay masiguradong matapos po ang mga [It is in our national interest to ensure we finish the] flagship projects under the government’s Build, Build, Build Program.”

Cavite governor Jonvic Remulla earlier said the provincial government would be willing to cancel the project’s contract if the President and the Department of National Defense deemed it a national security risk to enter into an agreement with CCCC.

“We want to build an airport, we found a partner; it seems that they are involved in the South China Sea issue, but I will leave it up to the Department of National Defense. I will leave it to the Office of the President to guide us on how we should pursue this,” Remulla earlier said.

MacroAsia, in a regulatory disclosure on September 1, said they are “in agreement with the statement of the Provincial Governor that the final go-signal for the Sangley Project will be up to the National Government.”

“We have been completing the qualification documents for the award, but the pandemic has delayed our processes, including the completion of JV (joint venture) documents prior to any signing of legal or financial contracts,” it added.

The Cavite government last February awarded the P208.5-billion contract to develop and implement Phase 1 of SPIA. The tandem of MacroAsia and CCCC was the sole bidder of the project to develop a 1,500-hectare international airport.

The consortium would be co-developing the project, providing the necessary equity investment and credit enhancements. And subject to a further competitive process or price test, it would perform engineering, procurement and construction services for the land and airport development components of the project.

The airport hub, which is being positioned as an alternative to congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the next big thing in air transport innovation in the country, will feature four runways as well as airside and landside facilities. The airport is expected to be on a par with Singapore’s Changi International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, and South Korea’s Incheon International Airport.

Last June, the joint venture was granted another 90-day extension to submit its post- qualification requirements in view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The first two-month extension was given last April.

The project’s first phase is slated for completion in 2022 and is expected to accommodate 75 million passengers yearly. The second phase of development will follow, with target completion of 2028. The airport can accommodate up to 130 million passengers annually once fully completed.