Ramon Ang: No need for a partner to finance Bulacan airport project
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - May 4, 2018 - 3:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corp. on Friday said it has the financial capacity to solely build and operate a P735.63-billion international airport outside the capital, amid concerns over the project’s viability.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently greenlighted 20 big-ticket projects, including SMC’s unsolicited proposal to construct an airport in Bulacan.

But Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III had said the government still needs to make sure that SMC has the capacity to bankroll the project, adding that “a partnership is obviously allowed for that.”

Speaking to reporters on the sideline of the 51st Asian Development Bank annual meeting in Manila, SMC President and COO Ramon Ang said his company does not need a partner to finance the project.

“If you look at our balance sheet and our cash flow, we can easily do that airport alone,” Ang said. “The financing for the construction of the airport, if and when we have it, San Miguel has the balance sheet to do that.”

SMC’s “aerotropolis” proposal involves the construction of a terminal, parallel runways and an airport toll road. The whole project will cover around 2,500 hectares of which 1,168 hectares will be the main airport complex, while the remaining 1,332 hectares will be developed into a township.

Like other unsolicited proposals, the Bulacan airport project will undergo a Swiss challenge system, under which third parties can submit competing bids while the original proponent will be given the right to match these offers. 

But according to Dominguez, the Swiss challenge still has to go through another review, while the final concession agreement has to be approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Board, which is chaired by Duterte.

“I think it’s still going through evaluation by the DOTr (Department of Transportation), so we just have to wait for that,” Ang said.

“We are confident that that airport will be good for our country and will bring in at least 20 million foreign tourists to our country. So with that, I think it will create millions of jobs for our Filipino countrymen,” he added.

SMC’s integrated airport project is seen as an alternative gateway to the overstretched Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.

Although the government has yet to disclose a timeline for the new round of review of SMC’s offer, Dominguez made it clear that the president wants all infrastructure projects “to be done quickly.”

“We are confident that this airport will be good for our country and the return of investment is secondary to us,” Ang said.

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