Tugade supports immediate start of Bulacan airport
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - December 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade is still pushing for the immediate start of construction of the Bulacan international airport, preferably this month, amid an ongoing review of the project’s concession agreement.

Tugade told The STAR that there is still a chance for the new international airport in Bulacan to begin construction this month as originally scheduled.

“If San Miguel agrees then we should start it, just as long as the discussions would go well,” he said.

“I still want for the clarification to be completed and an understanding to be finished soon. Why should we delay it? Let’s do it this month already,” he said.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang earlier said the airport’s groundbreaking scheduled this month could be postponed.

He said groundbreaking would be delayed because the project is on hold, in line with a review of the project’s concession agreement currently being undertaken by the Department of Justice at the request of the Department of Finance.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr), however, said there are no objections to the concession agreement, just mere clarifications on the phrasing of provisions on material adverse government action for situations where the government deviates from contractual obligation and as such is required to compensate a private entity, as well as the cap on liability in relation to operational performance and deliverables.

“As far as the Bulacan airport is concerned, it is the position of the DOTr to come up with an agreement with San Miguel. We signed that contract and we stand by what we signed. Those that are needed to be explained on contractual provisions or details are being discussed and clarified now,” Tugade said.

“If there are things being attended to at present, those are not objection but clarificatory only. Nothing is being delayed,” he said.

The DOTr and SMC inked last Sept. 18 the concession agreement for the development of the Bulacan international airport and a notice to proceed was also signed on the same day, giving SMC the greenlight to start the project’s construction anytime.

The $15-billion gateway also referred to as the New Manila International Airport will be built on a 2,400-hectare property in Bulakan, Bulacan.

It will have four runways, eight taxiways and three terminals and be able to handle up to 100 million passengers per year once fully completed in five years’ time.

SMC will undertake the financing, design, construction, supply, completion, testing, commissioning, and operation and maintenance of the new international gateway, which is expected to ease congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s main international gateway.

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