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DOTr seeks March start on Bulacan airport despite DOF concerns

While the Department of Finance (DOF) has sought clarification on certain provisions in the contract with the private concessionaire, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) still hoped to break ground on the proposed New Manila International Airport in Bulacan by March.

"Wala naman kaming nakikitang serious problem dun sa mga clarifications or 'yung mga paliwanag na hinihingi," said Transportation Undersecretary for Planning and Project Development Ruben Reinoso Jr.

"'Pag ka nalinis na itong lahat, 'pag ka maayos at natanggal na, madali na lang i-shedule 'yung groundbreaking," he added.

While the proposed New Manila International Airport had been delayed due to concerns from the DOF, Reinoso said that Transportations Secretary Arthur Tugade wanted the project started before the end of March. 

In August 2019, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) formally awarded the contract to build and operate the Bulacan airport project to San Miguel Holdings Corp. , the infrastructure unit of San Miguel Corp.

Both parties signed the concession deal for the New Manila International Airport on September 18, a month and four days after SMC received the notice of award for the contract.

According to Reinoso, San Miguel was prepared to take on the project, but would likely take the time to clarify government concerns before starting.

"They are ready. Nakakuha na sila ng ECC (environmental compliance certificate). They're moving in," he said.

Under the concession agreement, San Miguel would undertake the financing, design, construction, supply, completion, testing, commissioning, and operation and maintenance (O&M) of the new gateway under a 50-year concession period. — DVM, GMA News