With Sangley airport on the line, Cavite awaits sober Biden | Inquirer Business

With Sangley airport on the line, Cavite awaits sober Biden

/ 04:09 AM November 09, 2020

Would a Biden-led White House be more pliable to China? As the final moments of the hotly contested elections come to a close, countries will next watch closely how the US government will deal with its global affairs, especially with China.

This especially holds true for the Cavite government, which is banking on a partnership with a controversial Chinese firm to secure economic opportunities and create jobs via a $10-billion international air hub in Manila Bay.

Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said they would have to wait and see whether the US government under Joseph Biden would take a more moderate approach to its dealings with China.


“Biden has not given his stand on the West Philippine Sea issue,” Remulla told the Inquirer. “We will see what the stance is after the election.”


The Cavite government is poised to seal a joint venture with billionaire Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corp. and partner China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC) to build the first phase of the P500-billion Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA).

The project was the subject of recent controversy after incumbent President Donald Trump’s administration placed Chinese companies on a sanctions list for their role in building artificial islands on disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea.

The list includes subsidiaries of CCCC.

Nevertheless, the project is expected to proceed after Malacañang, which has embraced Beijing under the term of President Duterte, expressed support for the project. Remulla himself also stood by CCCC.

While his foreign policy approach in this region remained uncertain, Remulla said he was “for Biden.”

“A sober America needs to lead the world,” he said.


The finalization of the venture between the Cavite government and MacroAsia-CCCC has been delayed because of the COVID-19 crisis.

In September, MacroAsia said the submission of their remaining post qualification requirements would happen within 90 days after commercial air travel opens between the Philippines and China.

Because of its national implications, critics also raised concerns on the risk posed to national security given Sangley’s strategic location in Manila Bay.

MacroAsia and CCCC were awarded the project on February after other bidders backed out.

An Inquirer report previously detailed how the short auction timeframe and bid terms favored a Chinese partner. The Cavite government defended the conduct of the bid and said the project would not turn into a debt trap.

The first phase of SPIA involved the construction of one runway and a terminal with a capacity of 25 million passengers per year. It would eventually expand into a four-runway airport with an annual capacity of 130 million passengers.

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Along with San Miguel Corp.’s airport city in Bulacan province, the Sangley International Airport was meant to cut congestion in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. INQ

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