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Back to square one: Cavite junks Sangley int’l airport deal with MacroAsia, China firm

THE Cavite government will look for a new partner to build an international airport at Sangley Point after it canceled the deal with MacroAsia Corp. and China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC).

The Lucio C. Tan-led MacroAsia said in a disclosure on Wednesday that the Cavite provincial government informed the company a day earlier it was canceling the “notice of selection and award” for the Sangley Point International Airport project.

The MacroAsia-CCCC tandem was awarded the project to upgrade the Sangley Point airport on Feb. 12, 2020.

Reuters reported MacroAsia’s shares sank as much as 19% to a three-month low in the first 10 minutes of trade following the cancellation. The company’s shares closed 0.36% up at P5.55 each on Wednesday.

“Due to the various deficiencies (in) the submission of requirements to conclude the joint venture agreement for the Sangley Point International Airport, the Cavite Provincial Government Special Selection Committee has recommended the non-approval of the redevelopment of the former airbase as presented by the applying parties,” Cavite Governor Juanito Victor “Jonvic” C. Remulla, Jr. said on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

Mr. Remulla said he approved the recommendation on Jan. 26.

The Cavite provincial government had been negotiating with the MacroAsia-CCCC tandem to form a joint venture for the $10-billion international airport project.

Mr. Remulla said they will now have to “restart the project,” but hopes to have a successful negotiation with a qualified partner by October this year.

He said the provincial government’s decision should not deter other groups from pursuing the project. “I still believe that a new international airport is important for the country in the long run,” he said.

Mr. Remulla told BusinessWorld on Monday that the joint venture deal was not signed in December after the provincial government saw “infirmities” in the tandem’s submissions.

To recall, the MacroAsia-CCC tandem had asked Cavite to thrice extend the deadline for the complete submission of the post-qualification requirements for the airport project, which were supposed to be submitted 60 days after the group received the notice of award on Feb. 12, 2020.

Mr. Remulla noted the project, aside from the documentary requirements, also had “PR issues” to tackle.

“I’m going to be hit on all sides because there are other interested parties. I’m confident though that as long as I keep my nose clean and do the right things for the right reasons, good things will happen,” he explained.

The Cavite provincial government initially targeted to break ground for the first phase of the airport project by the second quarter of 2020.

In December 2019, the CCCC-MacroAsia consortium was the sole bidder for a $10-billion airport just outside the capital, one of two big projects that aim to take pressure off the four terminals of Manila’s notoriously packed international airport.

CCCC was among the Chinese firms blacklisted by the United States in August for their roles in constructing and militarizing artificial South China Sea islands.

Mr. Remulla said the blacklisting had nothing to do with the cancellation.

China’s CCCC was not immediately available for comment. — Arjay L. Balinbin with Reuters

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