MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – At least 5 local companies and one Chinese firm have set their sights on the expansion of Sangley Airport into an international gateway.
In a chance interview during the operational dry run of the airport, Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said Metro Pacific, DM Consunji, and China Communications Construction Company were among the groups which expressed interest in building the international airport.
"I forgot the others, but so far they are the big groups. Ayala called me and they want to secure a copy,” Remulla said, referring to bid documents.
Remulla said All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corporation would also submit its own proposal, and that he had also spoken to SM-Tieng group.
"SM called us, but we don't know exactly their partnership, how [it] would work. But I've talked to both [groups] and they would do it together. I’ve talked to their principal, and they said they are going to coordinate with the SM group," he said.
Remulla said the project would cost around $10 billion: at least $3 billion for the reclamation, and up to $7 billion for the airport facilities, such as the runway, avionics, and terminal.
The deadline for securing bid documents will be on November 11. "After that, they will submit their tender [offer] on, I think, November 25," Remulla said. Awarding is set for the end of November.
Groundbreaking is set for January 15, 2020. "The first runway will be completed in 3 years and then the 4th [runway] we plan is in 6 years," Remulla said.
Remulla told Rappler that once the 4 runways are completed, it could handle a capacity of 50-55 million passengers annually, with the potential to go up to 100 million passengers in 10-15 years.
"It depends on the growth of the Philippine economy," he said, adding that passenger demand is expected to grow by 10-15% per year.
Remulla assured that the government would not take part in the procurement and that it would be a private endeavor.
"Ang joint venture kasi ng province (The joint venture of the province) is that we have a land company, we will reclaim the land, and then there will be an airport company which will put up the airport," he said.
"So two separate companies 'yan kasi (So those are two separate companies since) we don’t want to be part of the procurement process as a company because [of] government regulations. The government bidding process is too cumbersome so we would rather that they lease the land from us and they put up an airport company before everything would be private," Remulla said.
Once the construction bid is awarded, the bid for operations and management will be opened for submissions. In separating the operations and management, Remulla said, the procedure will be simpler.
"We have to make it simpler. If a government corporation wants, you have to go through procurement and other [processes of the] government and you cannot run an airport efficiently that way. So we have to bid out the O&M and sila na ang magpapatakbo ng airport (they will be the one to run the airport)," he said. – Rappler.com
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.