Govt studying SMC’s Bulacan airport plan

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The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said an unsolicited proposal by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to build a new international airport in Bulacan was still under consideration by the government.

“The airport in Bulacan is still not dead,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters.

Pernia said the technical board of the agency’s Investment Coordination Committee was studying the proposal.

“We are looking at it. We’ll let it go through the process… and then we will make sure that there will be no conditions,” he said.

San Miguel’s proposed ‘Airport City’ in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

The NEDA chief pointed out that unsolicited projects are required to go through the public-private partnership (PPP) process.

Such bids must go through a so-called Swiss Challenge, in which other investors are allowed to offer competing bids. The original proponent must match a superior bid to get the award.

“Well, if the project is unsolicited, it will be all throughout PPP. So they will have to compete,” he said.

The timetable for the review of the unsolicited proposal varies depending on the project complexity, Pernia said.

The P700-billion airport was proposed by San Miguel as a build-operate-transfer scheme under a 50-year concession. The planned massive airport and city complex covers some 2,500 hectares in Bulacan and will rise near Manila Bay.

The airport complex itself will span 1,168 hectares and have as many six parallel runways. Its initial capacity will be 100 million passengers per year.

Pernia stressed that the government was not in a hurry to work on the San Miguel proposal as the government’s focus would be on what projects could be finished within three years or at least within term of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under the government’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program is the Three-Year Rolling Infrastructure Program. The 2018-2020 program will have an indicative investment requirement of P3.6 billion, and covers transportation projects (P2.32 billion), social infrastructure (P636.65 million), water resources (P239 million), administrative buildings (P197 million), information and communications technology (P112.85 million), energy (P40.11 million), and others (P5.66 million).

It aims to ensure that hard budget ceilings of government agencies are optimized and utilized in funding infrastructure programs aligned with the Philippine Development Plan.

The program also promotes the optimal use of public resources for infrastructure development by assuring fund allocation for well-developed projects for three years, thus allowing the government to address gaps in the infrastructure sector, including pending projects from previous years.

Some of these pending projects are 4,710 kilometers of national roads that need to be paved, 366,014 units of socialized housing up for construction, and 1.2 million hectares for irrigation, according to the NEDA.

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