San Miguel clears airport issues with DOTr
Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has agreed to shoulder right-of-way costs for its massive airport proposal in Bulacan province, its president Ramon Ang said on Thursday.
Ang said during a business forum that issues over right of way, which is typically paid for by the government, were a sticking point in its talks with the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“We said we will pay for the right of way, we pay for the local government permits. In short, we will shoulder all of it,” Ang said in Filipino during the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.
“This project is a game changer. It will bring 20 million to 30 million tourists per year,” he added.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said during the same conference that they were able to resolve most of the issues during their recent meeting, which was attended by Ang.
Tugade said they could issue a certificate of successful negotiation as early as next week.
The next step is for the unsolicited proposal to be approved by the National Economic and Development Authority.
Tugade said they were maintaining their target to hold a Swiss challenge by the end of 2018.
SMC’s unsolicited offer involves the construction of a brand-new international airport in Bulakan, Bulacan province, about 50 kilometers north of Metro Manila. SMC sought a 50-year concession for the project, which Ang said would cost around P800 billion due to the weakening peso.
It will have up to six parallel runways and can handle more than 100 million passengers a year. SMC had earlier said the airport, which is being positioned as an alternative to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Manila, could start operations in about six years.
The SMC airport offer is among the projects that the DOTr said it would welcome under its multi-airport strategy. This was to address capacity constraints in Naia, the country’s busiest airport and a gateway to Manila.
The DOTr separately awarded Naia Consortium, a group of seven conglomerates that wanted to operate and modernize Naia for a period of 15 years, an original proponent status.
It said a Swiss challenge for that proposal could also be held before the end of 2018.
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