The Cavite provincial government gave Lucio Tan-led MacroAsia Corporation and its Chinese partner another 90 days to submit pending requirements for the $10-billion Sangley Point International Airport deal.
MacroAsia told the local bourse on Thursday, September 24, that the Cavite government had granted their extension plea.
The Tan-led firm and its partner China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) were originally given 60 days to submit post-qualification documents after receiving the notice of award (NOA) in February.
The Cavite government gave another extension due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an email it sent to the companies. Before this, the MacroAsia-CCCC consortium missed deadlines thrice.
“Considering the continuing adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the exigency of the service, we grant your request for extension of 90 days immediately after commercial air travel resumes between the Philippines and China to comply with all the conditions of the NOA,” said the provincial government, as quoted by MacroAsia.
“Please note that this additional extension is granted subject to the firm commitment of the consortium to fully comply with the requirements on or before the new deadline,” it added.
It is unclear when the exact deadline would be, but some international flights already resumed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in July. For two weeks in August, however, overseas flights were restricted when Metro Manila reverted to a stricter lockdown, allowing only sweeper flights arranged by the Philippine government.
Given the delays in submission, the groundbreaking for the project will be pushed back as well. Originally, the firms targeted the start of construction by the 2nd quarter of 2020.
The Cavite airport deal is among the projects eyed to decongest the main gateway, NAIA, aside from San Miguel Corporation’s planned airport in Bulacan and the expansion of the Clark International Airport.
The Sangley airport project will be done in 3 phases, with the first phase of the contract awarded to MacroAsia-CCCC. The $4-billion (P194-billion) contract involves the construction of an interim runway with a design capacity for 25 million passengers by 2023. A connector road will also be built, linking the Kawit segment of the Cavite Expressway to the airport.
In late August, the United States had blacklisted 24 Chinese firms for their involvement in Beijing’s reclamation of maritime features in the South China Sea and its construction of military bases there. CCCC’s subsidiaries were among the blacklisted companies.
Even before the US sanctioned CCCC, the company was already blacklisted by the World Bank from 2011 to 2017 over “fraudulent practices,” which included anomalous bidding schemes. (READ: ‘Shady track records’ hound PH-China infra firms)
Despite Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr’s push to stop projects linked to the sanctioned firms, President Rodrigo Duterte refused, therefore allowing the MacroAsia-CCCC project to push through. – Rappler.com