2 airports possible – Tugade


By Iris Gonzales | The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines may end up having two new airports – one in Sangley in Cavite and the other in Bulacan – to address the congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport over the long-term horizon instead of choosing between the two unsolicited proposals, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

In a chance interview last week, Tugade said the Duterte administration is studying whether the country would be able to absorb two new airports over the long run as separately proposed by some of the country’s billionaires.

If having two new airports is not feasible, Tugade said the government would have to decide on the best offer by the third quarter of the year.

“We will choose the best offer – Sangley or Bulacan, or maybe we can have the two airports,” Tugade said.

The Philippines may be able to absorb two new airports in the long run, he said.

“Because when you plan, you don’t plan on a short horizon,” Tugade said.

He said the government is studying the two offers and the feasibility of having both.

One is a proposal to build a $50 billion airport and seaport project in Sangley Point from the Tieng family’s All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. (ARRC), which now includes Belle Corp., the high-end property developer of the country’s richest man, Henry Sy.

ARRC is proposing a massive airport and seaport project, which is targeted to be operational before the end of the term of President Duterte in 2022.

On the other hand, San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang submitted an unsolicited proposal for an estimated $10 billion new airport that would be adjacent to Manila Bay in the province of Bulacan.

Tugade said the administration has already received SMC’s proposal to build a new airport in Bulacan and is waiting for the formal submission from ARRC on the Sangley airport.

“There has to be a submission (of a formal offer). We already received the submission for the Bulacan airport. For Sangley, there have been discussions, but no formal submission yet,” Tugade said.

In the end, Tugade said the Duterte administration would decide on what is best for the country.

Sought for comment, Ang said the diversified conglomerate is willing to join whichever airport project would prevail.

“For the airport, wherever they want it, we will join. If (the government) wants it in Sangley, we can join (the bidding),” Ang said.

While the government is studying the proposals for the new airports, Tugade said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is also working on the P74.56 billion rehabilitation of the NAIA and the proposed expansion of the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

NAIA has a 30 million annual passenger capacity but it handled 36.68 million passengers in 2015. The Clark airport, meanwhile, has an annual capacity of four million passengers.