Cavite governor says Duterte ‘ecstatic’ over proposal to phase out NAIA
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte was “ecstatic” over a proposal to turn the Philippines’ main gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), into a national park once the Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) is fully operational in the next few years, according to Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla.
“We showed what could be done to the President and he was ecstatic over the idea,” he said at a press briefing on Wednesday (Feb. 19).
“But then again they said it’s up to the next President who will inherit Malacañang to take cognizance of the project,” he said.
The plan to transform SPIA into a global aviation hub, which costs $10 billion overall, will take six to eight years to fully realize, said Remulla.
The first phase of the project, which costs $4 billion, was awarded by the Cavite government to the joint venture of the Lucio Tan-led MacroAsiaCorp. and China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. last week.
The plan included the construction of a road and bridge that would connect the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) to the airport. It is expected to partially operate by 2022 and fully operate in 2023.
Remulla said the connector road and bridge will cut travel time to the airport from 2 hours to 35 minutes.
The second phase, which will cost $6 billion, involves the construction of two additional runways that could accommodate flights carrying up to 75 million passengers every year.
The next phase, which would cost another $6 billion, would open up four more runways that would host flights carrying up to 130 million passengers each year.
Once the project is completed, it would make way for the proponents’ “most ambitious” plan, which is to phase out the operations at NAIA and transform it into a national park.
“We proposed that once the Sangley International Airport is in full operation, the NAIA can be closed down and be converted into a national park …It will cover all 750 hectares,” Remulla said.
He said if the NAIA site became just another business or industrial hub, “it will just add more congestion to the city.”
“So it’s better to make it an open space and relieve congestion that it is causing,” said the governor.
Edited by TSB
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