Press Release
September 10, 2018


Sen. Grace Poe believes speedy construction of new airports and expansion of existing ones will address congestion as overcapacity hounds the country's gateway.

This will be among the recommendations that Poe, as chair of the Senate public services panel that wrapped up its investigation into the stalling of a Chinese passenger aircraft at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other airport concerns, will include in the committee report.

"Ilalagay natin sa committee report yung naging diskusyon natin sa airport modernization...Malaking bagay iyan dahil sa Bulacan airport pa lamang ay ilang milyong pasahero ang madadagdag na makagagaan sa ating mga pasahero. At yung rehabilitation, until 65 million passengers ang magiging capacity ng NAIA. Malaking bagay at siguro hindi na sila magsisiksikan sa mga terminal," Poe told reporters after the second hearing on Monday, Sept. 10.

Officials present at the hearing told senators they are pursuing a multi-airport policy within Metro Manila and nearby provinces, and have in fact accepted proposals to develop NAIA, Clark International Airport in Pampanga, Sangley Point in Cavite, a new airport in Bulacan, as well as the development of Subic airport.

NAIA, which only has a capacity of 31 million passengers, booked 42.5 million passengers last year.

As for Clark, senators were told that expansion of Clark airport, which is being groomed as an alternative to the already congested NAIA, will be completed in 2020 and will increase its capacity to 12 million while the upgrade of NAIA, which will be developed by a "super consortium" composed of seven conglomerates, is scheduled to be initially completed by 2021 and is anticipated to increase capacity to 65 million passengers.

Subic airport is being revived to get it back to international standards; Sangley airport, which is currently used by the Philippine military, is proposed by the Cavite provincial government and another private consortium as an international hub to handle some 70 million passengers; and a new airport in Bulakan, Bulacan by San Miguel Holdings (SMH) is expected to handle 100 million passengers and may be operational by 2024.

"The government should accelerate the approval and implementation of airport proposals to ensure that tourists and our kababayans do not suffer...On the call of this Honorable Committee for government to fast-track the implementation of the airport proposals, we completely agree," Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez told senators.

He, however, raised concerns as to the financial viability of SMH, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corp., in financing a massive P735 billion airport project. Dominguez said SMH had total equity of P60 billion. In constructing a new Bulacan airport, SMH may need to shell out P200 billion, something the Cabinet official doubts could be financed.

"Financially, at this point, [SMH is] incapable of undertaking a P700-billion project," Dominguez said, but added they want the parent company, San Miguel Corp. (SMC), to guarantee the Bulacan airport project as he believes SMC's capitalization is enough to finance the bid.

The committee noted the concerns raised by the Finance official as regards the financial capacity of the proponent firm of the Bulacan mega airport, as well as connectivity to Manila and capacity of existing roads to handle a mammoth project.

Poe said she wants assurance the "terminal fees will not skyrocket" once the different airport projects are completed.

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