(Corrects name of the Transport Secretary in the fourth
* San Miguel says to present proposal to govt next month
* New facility to have 4 runways in an 800-ha property
* Govt says proposal subjected to Swiss challenge
By Rosemarie Francisco
MANILA, March 25 San Miguel Corp, the
Philippines' most diversified conglomerate, is planning to
present a proposal to the government soon to build a $10 billion
airport in the capital, its president said on Tuesday.
Ramon Ang confirmed a Nikkei report that the company was set
to present its plan for an alternative international airport in
Manila next month. He confirmed the report in a text message to
The group, which also owns a portion of flag carrier
Philippine Airlines, announced last year its intention
to build a new facility to complement the ageing Ninoy Aquino
International Airport (NAIA). It delayed the plan pending
questions on state policy on airline companies operating
Any unsolicited infrastructure project proposal, like the
one San Miguel is planning, is subject to government scrutiny
and must first be presented to President Benigno Aquino,
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.
Upon the president's approval, it is then subjected to a
Swiss challenge where other bidders are asked to compete for the
project, with the original proponent allowed to match the best
Abaya said the government, with the help of the Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is also studying the
possibility of converting a former U.S. navy base at Sangley
point in southwestern Cavite province into an alternative
international airport. He said its location, just 20 minutes
away from Manila, makes it ideal.
The Sangley airport project is part of a 2.3 trillion pesos
($51 billion) transportation infrastructure plan JICA has
presented to the government. The plan also involves building
subway and rail networks.
"The NAIA is already getting saturated, there is no more
time," Shizuo Iwata, project manager at JICA, said in a phone
interview in Manila regarding the $9 billion airport project
component of JICA's "Dream Plan". The plan is awaiting approval
of an inter-agency committee chaired by Aquino.
According to the Nikkei report, San Miguel is planning to
build an airport with four runways at an 800-ha property within
the metropolis under a build-operate-transfer scheme. Ownership
of the facility will be turned over to the government after 25
That will be double the 400-hectare lot currently occupied
by NAIA, which, with its single runway, exceeded its maximum
annual capacity of 30 million passengers last year, according to
the transportation department.
($1 = 45.12 Philippine Pesos)
(Additional reporting by Siegfrid Alegado; Editing by Jeremy