The Department of Transportation said the groundbreaking of the P734-billion New Manila International Airport in Bulacan province is pushing through, pending clarifications from proponent San Miguel Holdings Corp. over the joint liability undertaking for the project.
“I don’t see any problem with the groundbreaking. It is just proper to clarify observations such as joint guarantee,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
The groundbreaking of the Bulacan airport was postponed in December last year after the Finance Department raised clarifications over the joint undertaking for the project.
“The DOF never questioned the contract. In fact, they were helping to expedite our communication. If they asked a question, it is not by nature objecting to the contract. It is by nature of putting clarifications so that the highest interest of government will be maintained,” Tugade said.
Transportation Undersecretary for planning and project development Ruben Reinoso Jr. said the Finance Department wanted San Miguel Corp., the parent firm of San Miguel Holdings Corp., to be responsible for the liabilities of Bulacan Airport, not only in terms of equity.
“That’s something that we need to bring back to the proponent,” Reinoso said.
Reinoso said San Miguel already issued joint and several undertaking for the financing of Bulacan Airport as SMHC could not finance the project based on its balance sheet.
“The SMHC’s net worth will not be able to provide equity for each phase. Phase 1 amounted to P544 billion. How much is the 30 percent of that? That’s easily P200 billion. If you look at San Miguel Holdings, which is the proponent, it does not have a net worth of P200 billion,” Reinoso said.
The airport project in Bulakan, Bulacan was supposed to start construction by the end of 2019 in line with its target to launch commercial operations within four to six years.
San Miguel tapped the services of global firms Groupe ADPi, Meinhardt Group and Jacobs Engineering to design and build the New Manila International Airport.
All three companies were involved in building world-class airports including Changi Airport in Singapore, Atlanta Airport in the US and Charles de Gaulle Airport in France.
The initial designs, some of which were released earlier, envision a future-ready airport focusing on overall passenger experience and sustainable technologies consistent with the needs of the environment and the local communities of Bulacan and nearby provinces.
San Miguel said it would also engage a world-class airport operator to help manage the country’s future premier gateway.
The company said it would build the project on a 2,500-hectare property in Bulakan town about 30 kilometers northeast of Metro Manila at no cost to the government.
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