Airport project up for Neda Board nod
San Miguel Corp.’s proposed “aerotropolis” in Bulacan will be up for approval by the National Economic and Development Authority Board (Neda) chaired by President Duterte on Wednesday, after which it would be subjected to a Swiss challenge.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters Monday that since the P735.6-billion Bulacan airport project was already approved by the Neda Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) last March 28, it would likely be included in the agenda for the upcoming Neda Board meeting.
Inquirer sources earlier disclosed that the Department of Finance had reservations on SMC’s unsolicited proposal as it would be rolled out by subsidiary San Miguel Holdings Corp., whose capitalization was supposedly smaller than the project itself.
The DOF was also reportedly wary about the project’s economic impact as it would be rolled out by the private sector, sources said.
But early this month, Neda said the ICC-CabCom approved SMC’s proposed aerotropolis with the inclusion of a “recommendation to the Neda Board for negotiations between Department of Transportation and San Miguel Holdings toward conducting the prescribed Swiss challenge, after finalizing the bidding parameters with the DOF.”
Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan told the Inquirer that prior to Neda ICC’s March 28 meeting, Pernia and Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who was in the US at that time, were able to discuss SMC’s unsolicited proposal and decided to let the Neda Board do the “threshing out” of the project before it finally decided whether or not to give its go-ahead.
Tungpalan clarified that it was not only the DOF but the Neda ICC as a collegial body that had concerns on the project.
The new international aerotropolis, or a metropolis revolving around an airport, being pitched by SMC to the DOTr would involve a massive airport covering 1,168 hectares as well as city complex to be built on a 2,500-hectare location along Manila Bay in Bulakan town. —BEN O. DE VERA
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