President Rodrigo Duterte wants the P735.6-billion Bulacan airport of San Miguel Corp. and other major infrastructure projects to be implemented quickly to fulfill his promise under his leadership, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said over the weekend.
Dominguez made the statement after the National Economic and Development Authority board headed by the president approved the construction of a new airport in the coastal town of Bulakan in Bulacan province.
“The president wants all infrastructure projects to be done quickly. He doesn’t discriminate whether it’s this or that. He just wants all the infra to be done quickly because he believes that one of the reasons he was elected is to make life easier for people and this requires precisely better infra development,” Dominguez told reporters in a news briefing.
The Neda board also approved Clark International Airport expansion project, Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control project, Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway bridges construction project and Davao Food Complex.
The unsolicited proposal of San Miguel involves the construction, operation and maintenance of Bulacan International Airport over an area spanning 2,500 hectares.
It includes the construction of a terminal, parallel runways and airport toll road. Once completed, the project will be able to accommodate 100 million passengers yearly by its opening year of 2023. It will also include an 8.4-kilometer airport toll road.
Bulakan, a first-class town, is located northwest of Obando and Valenzuela City and is only 35 kilometers north of Manila.
Dominguez said while the project was approved, the Neda board wanted to review the final terms of the concession agreement.
San Miguel’s unsolicited proposal would be subject to Swiss Challenge which means other groups will be invited to make competing offers, with the proponent given the right to match any better proposal.
“I suppose the Swiss challenge has to go to another review. That’s what I interpret it to be,” Dominguez said, adding that Transportation Secretary Tugade had a timetable for the review of the concession agreement.
Dominguez said San Miguel was not prohibited from teaming up with other groups for the airport project. “A partnership is obviously allowed for that… This project is a P735-billion project and we must make sure the proponent has the financial and technical capability to carry it out… That’s all,” he said.
The government plans to invest P8.4-trillion under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program to carry out big-ticket infrastructure projects.
Under the program, the government aims to build more airports, seaports, highways, railways, water and irrigation projects across the country to spur more economic activities nationwide.
Also included in the massive infrastructure program is the construction of a 25-kilometer subway in Metro Manila to decongest the metropolis of heavy traffic that was causing around P3.5-billion in economic losses daily.