San Miguel Corp. said Monday it postponed the groundbreaking of the P734-billion New Manila International Airport in Bulacan province after the Department of Finance raised some issues over the concession agreement.
“The groundbreaking was delayed because it was put on hold. There was new issue raised. [The DOF] sent a new letter, causing the delay,” San Miguel president and COO Ramon Ang told reporters.
The Department of Transportation and San Miguel Holdings Corp. signed a 50-year concession period for the Bulacan airport project in September.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the DOF, while not objecting to the proposed project, wanted clarification on the government’s role.
“He [Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez] is not making objection. He just wanted to clearly see what we are saying is in favor of the government. In other words, it’s an issue of wordings and interpretation,” Tugade said.
Tugade said the DOF wanted to clarify issues on material adverse government action and liability cap for the project. He said the Department of Justice would review the contract, particularly the MAGA and the liability cap.
Tugade said while he was hoping that the groundbreaking of the project would be held this year, they had to wait for the position of the DOJ.
“If I were to be followed and once all the issues were clarified, we would hold the groundbreaking before the end of the year. We just had to wait for the comments and position of DOJ,” he said.
The airport project in Bulakan, Bulacan was supposed to commence construction by the end of the year in line with its target to start 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.