The Cavite capitol has scrapped the $10-billion (or P515 billion) Sangley Point International Airport development project that was intended to lessen the debilitating congestion in Manila’s 40-year old terminal built during the martial law years.
The Sangley airport contract was awarded in 2019 by the Cavite provincial government to a consortium led by Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corp. and the giant China Communications Construction Corporation (CCCC), which was the sole bidder.
Cavite Gov. Jon Vic Remulla said the provincial board was led to the decision because the documentation presented for consideration to the selection committee was “deficient” in several areas that he didn’t elucidate.
“We saw it as a sign they were not fully committed to the project,” Remulla was quoted in published reports as saying.
The Sangley project called for the construction a state-of-the-art terminal capable of handling 50 million passengers annually and two runways to accommodate modern international air carriers.
It was revealed that the consortium did not submit required post-qualification documents to finalize the Joint Venture Agreement despite numerous entreaties by the selection committee. As a matter of fact, they were given four deadline extensions, the final one in September 2020.
Remulla told reporters he is hopeful that negotiations for a new deal may come about within a few months with “any qualified partner.”
“I believe that a new international airport is important for the country in the long run,” he said.
The CCCC, it should be noted, was one of several Chinese firms blacklisted by the Trump administration in 2020 for its involvement in several military projects in the hotly-contested South China Sea that Beijing is claiming almost entirely, in violation of UN international law.
Despite the implications of CCCC’s participation in the Sangley project, Malacanang gave its imprimatur even if the blacklist was released officially by the White House.
At present, the Sangley airport serves as a domestic hub for general aviation and turbo-prop aircraft operations after they were ordered to leave the NAIA to reduce congestion.