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DECONGESTING NAIA

Cavite gov’t pursues airport plan

/ 05:12 AM August 13, 2018

The Cavite government remains committed to pursuing a $9.3-billion international air hub in Sangley Point—a potential Ninoy Aquino International Airport replacement—even as the Department of Transportation expressed early reservations, eventually deciding last month that it would not contest the project.

A representative from the Cavite government said their proposal, aimed at initially supporting Naia, where passenger and air congestion are worsening, would be endorsed to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), whose final approval is still required.

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“We’re trying to get in on a priority list,” the representative told the Inquirer.

The development comes as fresh information on the DOTr’s deliberations behind the provincial government’s Sangley Point International Airport, structured as a government-to-government proposal, surfaced last week.

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On June 15, 2018, Transportation Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and Procurement Reinier Paul Yebra recommended that the department not sign any memorandum of agreement with the Cavite provincial government for its Sangley Airport proposal. A copy of the letter was seen by the Inquirer.

The letter, addressed to the DOTr’s planning office, raised legal questions on the provincial government’s technical capabilities and the lack of details on its financing scheme, considering the massive budget.

“This office is of the opinion that the above description of the proposed project as well as the financing scheme is too general,” a portion of the letter read.

The Cavite government representative explained that financing would come from local business groups and Chinese state-owned enterprises, including a unit of financial giant Citic Group. International experts, including those from China, would also be tapped.

A month later, on July 13, Undersecretary for Planning Reuben Reinoso wrote Cavite Gov. Jesus Crispin Remulla, stating that the DOTr “interposes no objection” to the Sangley Point International Airport.

Reinoso added that the provincial government needed to win clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Manila International Airport Authority, Philippine Reclamation Authority, and the Neda Board.

“Any local government can pursue government projects within their jurisdiction provided they comply with the law,” Reinoso said in an interview last week.

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The push for alternative air gateways is closely linked to congestion issues hounding Manila’s Naia, which serves more than 40 million passengers annually—above its design capacity of 31 million passengers per year.

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TAGS: Business, Cavite government, Sangley Point
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