The Philippines’ worst airport problem may be finally solved once incoming president Rodrigo Duterte approve SMC’s project to build a world class international airport in Manila Bay.
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president Ramon S. Ang said the plan would showcase a world-class international airport, earlier estimated to cost $10 billion but could be built for less, as well as a possible, unprecedented alliance with the country’s biggest conglomerates that would include Manuel V. Pangilinan’s group, Henry Sy’s SM Group and Zobel-led Ayala Corp.
SMC’s proposed airport would eventually replace the old Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila that is now operating beyond its intended capacity. The new airport would sit on 1,600 hectares of mainly reclaimed land in Manila Bay and was proposed two years ago to the outgoing Aquino administration.
SMA said it was careful not to offer to build the project under the current Aquino administration because it is bias on biddings, so the project was not materialized.
“I’m being invited to propose again,” Ang told the Inquirer. “So I’ll do this and will ask them to call for a public bidding. I’ll present all the designs.”
“If San Miguel is allowed to do the airport I will invite Manny Pangilinan, and Ayala and Shoemart (SM Group). All of them are welcome to be partners,” Ang added. “But as the major partner, I will invite Manny Pangilnan.”
Ang said reclaiming Manila bay is better than building airport in Clark, Pampanga, as the latter location is too far for most travelers, especially those from the South.
“There’s really no other choice,” Ang said. He said Sangley could cost up to $20 billion to build, while SMC’s Manila Bay airport would require an equity of about $2 billion to $3 billion.
“We have experience to do the reclamation. We have dredging machines, everything is complete,” Ang added.
San Miguel already operates the Caticlan Airport near Boracy Island. In 2014, it made an unsuccessful bid for the Mactan Cebu International Airport with partner Incheon Airport of South Korea. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the SM group and Ayala also bid for the Cebu Airport public-private partnership (PPP) project that was eventually won by Filipino company Megawide Construction Corp. and India’s GMR Infrastructure.
Jose Ma. K. Lim, president of Metro Pacific, said they were open to SMC’s offer. “We have expressed interest in bidding for airports so if the government decision is to adopt RSA’s (Ang’s) proposal, we would consider it,” Lim said in a text message.
The company also believes that the new administration will be fair in all project biddings saying the bias government has been becoming a hindrance to the country’s success because it selected incompetent people who are close to those in higher government office. /Source – Lily Lopez/