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Deadlock? Gov't rejects revisions to NAIA rehab

The Philippine government rejected proposed revisions to the unsolicited proposal to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by the country's top conglomerates.

In a disclosure on Monday, July 6, Lucio Tan's LT Group said the government "is not willing to accept" most of the NAIA Consortium's proposed changes. These changes have yet to be disclosed.

Without the revisions, the current scenario may push the NAIA Consortium to withdraw from the P102-billion build-transfer-operate endeavor.

The NAIA Consortium's member-companies said in separate disclosures that they can only "move forward with the NAIA project under revised conditions" due to the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The far-reaching and long-lasting consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on airline travel, airline operations, and airport passenger traffic necessitated a review of the assumptions and plans to ensure that the NAIA project will be viable in the 'new normal,'" said LT Group.

The NAIA Consortium submitted the unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate the Philippines' main gateway in February 2019. The consortium had been granted original proponent status in 2018 and secured approval from the National Economic and Development Authority Board in November 2019.

If the government eventually accepts revisions to the original proposal, the consortium would have to go through a series of approvals again from the Philippine government and eventually undergo a Swiss challenge.

Under the original proposal, the rehabilitation would start by 2021 and would be completed by 2024. The concession agreement would last for 15 years.

The NAIA Consortium is composed of 6 congolomerates: JG Summit, Aboitiz InfraCapital, AC Infrastructure, Asia's Emerging Dragon, Filinvest Development Corporation, and Alliance Global, after the exit of the Manuel Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corporation in March. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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