The Swiss Challenge for San Miguel Corp.'s proposal to build a new gateway in Bulacan ended Wednesday morning with no challenger. This means the project will be awarded to SMC, which was granted the original proponent status.
No challengers: Government to award Bulacan airport project to San Miguel
( - July 31, 2019 - 11:54am

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corp. is poised to build the proposed Bulacan Airport project after no companies showed up to challenge the conglomerate’s offer.

The Swiss challenge for SMC’s proposal to build a new gateway in Bulacan ended Wednesday morning with no counterbids. This means the project will be awarded to SMC, which was granted original proponent status.

In a Swiss challenge, the government invites companies to submit counterbids to compete against a proponent's unsolicited proposal. 

"They (SMC) have 20 days to comply with our conditions. We can issue the Notice of Award within five days based on the recommendation of the [technical working group]. The Secretary wants to start the groundbreaking of the construction by the last quarter of this year," Transportation Assistant Secretary Giovanni Lopez said.

Under SMC’s unsolicited proposal, the company will finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the airport — to be known as the New Manila International Airport.

The P754-billion project aims to build a new international gateway outside the capital that can accommodate 100 million passengers annually.

The Bulacan Airport is part of the “basket of solutions” of the government to help decongest the aging Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

According to the Department of Transportation, the Bulacan Airport is expected to be operational within four to six years from the start of construction, which is targeted before the end of this year.

As of 11:21 a.m. Wednesday, shares in SMC were down 0.28% or 50 centavos to P175.40 each.

Although no other contractor presented a counterbid for the project, it is not unopposed: fisherfolk and residents of coastal towns in Bulacan fear displacement and the destruction of fishing habitats that their livelihoods rely on.

"Bulakan is known as one of the country's key biodiversity areas and home to 22 types of mangroves that serve as natural barriers against large waves as well as habitats for fish. It also contributes much to the overall fish production in the Philippines as a major source of marine resources in Central Luzon," AKAP KA Manila Bay, an alliance opposed to reclamation projects along the bay, said in Filipino.

"At least 2,070 hectares of productive fishing areas in Bulakan town, one of the country's key biodiversity areas, is set to be reclaimed, displacing hundreds of families in seven coastal sitios of Taliptip whose everyday living depends on small-scale and traditional fishing," activist group Bagong Alysansang Makabayan-Bulacan also said of the project.

— Ian Nicolas Cigaral with a report from The STAR/Richmond Mercurio

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