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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Why SMC Group won the award

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“When will we Filipinos have a truly modern international airport we can be truly proud of?”

On Sept. 15, this year, the San MIguel Corporation-led group, SMC SAP & Co. Consortium, that won the bid to rehabilitate, operate and manage the main gateway international airport to the Philippines, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, will start rehabilitating NAIA, admittedly a heavily congested international airport, which to me, has become an international embarrassment, having been judged as the worst airport in the region, and lately as the most depressing for international passengers.

The concession period was given to the SMC-led group, together with the operator of the Incheon International Airport in South Korea. The 15-year concession period is renewable for another 10 years.

According to reports, the main consideration for the award is the whopping revenue the SMC-led group would give to the government: 82.16 percent of all revenue that the concessionaire would earn.

Santa Banana, that would mean P831 billion for the government! The second and third placers in the bidding offered much less.

According to inside reports, there were other considerations why the SMC-led group was chosen, particularly the fact that San Miguel’s New Manila International Airport in Bulacan, costing P575 billion, would also be finished by 2028, which gives to the Philippines two international airports that we Filipinos can be truly proud of.

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With the New Manila International Airport with its four runways and an aeropolis, the SMC-led group is truly a game changer.

My gulay, with two international airports in the country, nothing could beat that except perhaps Japan with Haneda and Narita airports, but not as compared with the New Manila International Airports in Manila and in Bulacan.

Earlier, I predicted that with two international airports being operated and managed by San Miguel, that would energize the Department of Transportation and the country as a whole.

I must say, as a journalist who has traveled around the world, that every time I would go through NAIA and compare it with other airports, like Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul and Jakarta, my heart would sink.

When will we Filipinos have a truly modern international airport we can be truly proud of? I ask myself. Now, we will have not only one, but two.

For the first six years of the concession, the group would be required to spend a minimum of P88 billion for upgrading the services of the airport.

With the prospects of a modernized NAIA, I would see all other airports in the country also upgraded not only because it’s for the best of the country, but Filipinos to be truly proud of their country to foreign tourists, foreign investors and returning balikbayans.

Then I would say, you will love the Philippines, Santa Banana!

More recently, NAIA has again been considered the fourth worst international airport in the region, including the Middle East!

But this will soon change with the rehabilitation and modernization of NAIA.

BBM intervenes

With all the fuss created as regards the toxic remarks from the Senate and the House of Representatives in connection with the proposed amendments of the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, President Marcos Jr. had to intervene and tell Congress the Senate had to do it alone.

BBM knew that at the rate both chambers of Congress were going, nothing would come out of it.

I have said in an earlier column that at the rate both the Senate and the House were going at it, nothing would happen to the proposed Cha-cha.

And I believe it’s the best argument for a Parliamentary System of government for the country.

And why not do it for the good of the country?

Amend the charter and adopt a Parliamentary System of government, Santa Banana!

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