Sangley airport proponents seek fresh extension of submissions

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corp. and its Chinese partner are seeking a fresh three-month extension to submit post-qualification requirements for the Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) project after failing to meet their deadline for the second time Friday.

MacroAsia missed the deadline anew due to challenges brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic.

Cavite government public-private partnership selection committee legal officer Jesse Grepo said the official letter of request from the consortium of MacroAsia and China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC) was received on Wednesday.

He said the consortium’s request for a 90-day extension was “referred to the appropriate office for proper action, considering among other things is the current COVID-19 crisis.”

Last April, the consortium was given a two-month extension or until June 11 within which to submit post qualification documents due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation.

Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said the consortium’s request for new extension would likely be decided upon next week.

“The pandemic situation puts us in a new normal situation. We have to assess,” he said.

“Since the letter request was just received yesterday afternoon, and considering that this needs to be deliberated upon by the public-private partnership selection committee to come up with an intelligent recommendation to the governor whether to deny, approve in whole or in part the said request, the decision on said request will be done after proper deliberation,” Grepo said separately.

MacroAsia and CCCC, which received the notice of award from the Cavite government last Feb. 15 for the SPIA project, was originally given 60 days to comply with all post qualification requirements before an official signing of a joint venture contract with the local government is made.

However, travel restrictions and lockdowns imposed in China and in the country made it hard for the MacroAsia consortium to meet and complete the qualification requirements.

The $4-billion first phase of the SPIA project involved the development of an interim first runway with an annual design capacity for 25 million passengers and the new Sangley connector road and bridge.

The consortium will also have the right to first offer for the second phase of the SPIA project, which will expand the development for a second runway, with an annual design capacity for 75 million passengers.

MacroAsia, which holds 40 percent in the consortium, has expertise in developing and operating key operating functions in an airport  as an affiliate of flag carrier Philippine Airlines.

CCCC, meanwhile, is a state-owned company engaged in investment, design and construction of transportation infrastructure, with experience in both airport and reclamation projects.

It was previously debarred by the World Bank due to alleged fraudulent practices by one of its subsidiaries, but the debarment was lifted in Jan. 2017.

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