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SMC ‘aerotropolis’ up for Duterte OK

Neda: China interested to finance PH airport project

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:34 PM April 03, 2018

The plan for a P700-billion Bulacan Airport presented by the San Miguel Corporation to the Department of Transportation. (PHOTO FROM SMC PROPOSAL)

China is interested to finance an airport project in the Philippines, while San Miguel Corp.’s proposal to build an “aerotropolis” in Bulacan will soon be up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said Tuesday.

Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan told reporters that among the “second basket” of infrastructure projects to be pitched for Chinese financing included an airport, in which China itself earlier expressed interest, but he did not disclose details.

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Tungpalan added that the Chinese side may also be tapped to finance the construction of 10 more bridges crossing the Pasig River in Metro Manila, which was approved for official development assistance (ODA) financing by the Neda Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) last month.

The 10 bridges, worth a total of P27.4 billion, will be built by the Department of Public Works and Highways to cross the Pasig and Marikina rivers as well as the Manggahan Floodway, as follows: North and South Harbor Bridge; Palanca-Villegas Bridge; Beata-F.Y. Manalo Bridge; Blumentritt-Antipolo Bridge; Mercury-Evangelista Bridge; JP Rizal-St. Mary Bridge; JP Rizal-Lopez Jaena Bridge; Marikina-Vista Real Bridge; East Bank-West Bank Bridge 1; and East Bank-West Bank Bridge 2.

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The Department of Finance last month said that the Philippine and Chinese governments are set to sign by midyear the loan agreements for the three big-ticket infrastructure to be financed by the mainland under its “first basket” of projects, namely the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s P10.9-billion New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam, the National Irrigation Administration’s P2.7-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Facility, as well as the Department of Transportation’s P151-billion Philippine National Railways-South Long-Haul Railway.

Last March 28, during another Neda ICC-CabCom meeting, the committee also approved two more projects, including SMC’s unsolicited proposal for a P700-billion new international aerotropolis involving a massive airport spanning 1,168 hectares as well as city complex to be built at a 2,500-hectare location along Manila Bay in Bulakan town, Tungpalan said.

The Neda ICC-CabCom also approved a joint-venture project that will convert a land property owned by state-run National Development Co. into an agro-industrial complex, Tungpalan added.

Inquirer sources earlier disclosed that the Department of Finance had reservations on SMC’s proposed aerotropolis, as it would be rolled out by the 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 Tungpalan told the Inquirer that prior to Neda ICC’s March 28 meeting, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. 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 chaired by President Duterte to do the “threshing out” of the project before it finally decides 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 have had concerns on the project.

Tungpalan said that nine big-ticket infrastructure projects worth a total of about P900 billion will be up for President Duterte’s approval at a yet to be scheduled Neda Board meeting. /jpv

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TAGS: aerotropolis, Business, Duterte, NEDA, SMC
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