SMC puts airport plan on hold


San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is putting on hold its proposal to build a new airport in Metro Manila in reaction to the government’s evolving policies that have delayed the implementation of key projects three years into President Aquino’s term.

SMC president Ramon S. Ang on Wednesday told reporters that the government should open up projects to all bidders instead of introducing restrictions that would hamper the participation of certain major players.

He was referring to the Department of Transportation and Communication’s (DOTC) inclusion of restrictions on the participation of airline companies or owners from bidding for the P17.5-billion Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) project.

The policy was later relaxed to allow airline owners to have a 33-percent stake in a consortium interested in the project. This was included in the pre-qualification requirements for interested parties to avert possible conflicts of interest, with the airport operator giving more favorable terms to its affiliates over rivals.

“I don’t understand that 33-percent restriction. If the government really wants to get the best deal, then they should open up the bidding. That’s real transparency,” Ang said. “If you want the best deal, you have to let everyone join. It will maximize the potential of the project.”

SMC earlier said it would build a new 2,000-hectare international airport near Manila to complement the existing Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

He said the new airport could co-exist with both Naia and the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, which the government wants to develop into a major hub for Northern and Central Luzon.

Ang said that SMC has lost its enthusiasm to participate in the MCIA bid because of the government restrictions.

“But (Lucio) Tan still wants to join, so we have no choice,” Ang said, referring to billionaire Lucio Tan, who is SMC’s partner in flag carrier Philippine Airlines.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • JV Salud

    Is it wise for an airline to have majority control over an airport facility? Will that airline not have a huge advantage over other carriers, thereby discouraging those other carriers?

    • Joseph

      You can’t be a profitable airport if you discourage other airlines.

      Look at airports in Asia. Both the airport and airline are owned by the same organization.

  • ApoLapullapu

    This is the reason why the PPP has not taken off.  Government policies are weather-weather.

  • Pablo Juan

    So hows PAL?

  • Echuserang_Froglet

    tutulog tulog kasi sa pansitan si abnoytard.  ppppppwwweeeehhh kadiri eeeeeeewwwwwww

  • Ben

    PNoy should consider amending the DOTC`s rule if we really are trying to modernize our economy and multiply long term jobs, we should consider individual private companies or airline to build their own hub, the government can offer BOT. Think about PIATCO builder of NAIA 3, the government was ordered to pay it  $173 million as compensation after seizing it from the contrators because of defects and alleged mismanagement by the Estrada adminstration.

    The government should come up with a revised policy for BOT scheme affecting Airline ownership of the hub or any private ownership of an airport in order to build a modern one. Think about the loss of possible GDP percentage for failing to give the contractors a go ahead to build an investment that will not easily fly away such as in the case of hot money pouring in to our stock market.
    Most U.S. commercial service airports are typically owned by local or state governments, either directly or through an authority (a quasi-governmental body established to operate the airport). While Congress established a “privatization program” in 1997 under which the airport ownership would be transferred to a non-governmental entity, no airports currently participate in this program. However, The Branson Airport (in Missouri) became the first privately financed and operated commercial service airport in the United States when it opened in May, 2009.

    • nitehawk

      what can you expect from Pnoy, all his projects are still, to plan, to study, to consider, to bid. three years into his terms he has’nt even lifted a single peeble to start his projects.

    • Ben

      just like Clark and Subic Authority, the government ( congress) must create a quasi-government authority (much like PPP, manned by the government and the private sector) that will specifically handles regional needs such as bridges, tunnels (if we ever plan to build one such as the one planned in Cebu), airports and transit. And in the case of the US much like that of the NY NJ Authority that manages bridges, tunnels, airports and transit in New York City and Northern New Jersey. The Philippine DOTC is like a giant turtle slow, filled up with beaucratic red tape, operating automatically and creating back log in infrastructure projects….such as the planned high speed double track North and South Rail, the LRT extension, the use of NAIA 3, philippine national broadband network that should be implemented not by NBN/ZTE since it is a very important infrastructure for a secure communication in the Philippines, etc DOTC must not handle all the country`s needs in building transportation infrastructures and communications but should then just decentralize its function and be a regulatory entity in order to unleash the economy as well as modernization towards high industrialization.

  • asdafaa qwesda

    Pinoy: the lesser evil. That’s his only saving grace.

  • Jean Claude

    WTF! Build your airport now SMC!!!! Dump that NAIA 1! It’s so ugly. the ugliest airport in the world. !!! Build your own airport now San Miguel. Dont listen to that failure called ABAYA and DOTC.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos