Cavite cancels award for China Communications' $10-B Sangley airport project

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2021 09:10 AM | Updated as of Jan 27 2021 10:28 AM

An artist's rendition of the proposed Sangley Point International Airport. Handout

MANILA (UPDATE) - The local government of Cavite has canceled its award of a $10 billion airport deal, local project proponent MacroAsia Corp disclosed on Wednesday.

China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) and MacroAsia in 2019 won the auction to partner with the Cavite provincial government to upgrade the Sangley airport.

"The notice of selection and award for the Sangley Point International Airport Project issued on 12 February 2020 was canceled," MacroAsia told the stock exchange on Wednesday. 

Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla told Reuters the consortium's documentation was "deficient in three or four items".

"We saw it as a sign they were not fully committed to the project," Remulla said.

The Cavite government would start new negotiations for a private sector partner to pursue the airport project, he said in a Facebook post.

In December 2019, the CCCC-MacroAsia consortium were the sole bidders 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. 

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

China's CCCC was not immediately available for comment.

MacroAsia's shares sank as much as 19 percent to a three-month low in the first 10 minutes of trade following the cancellation. 

In August last year, Remulla said the airport was a "national security issue" and that the province was ready to cease the agreement if President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to do so. 

In September however, Duterte gave the go signal for the airport project even after the US blacklisted CCCC.

Lawmakers and security analysts had earlier expressed concern that a Chinese firm linked to the militarization of the West Philippine Sea would build a facility that may displace a Philippine Navy station guarding Manila Bay.

Sangley Point is just 10 kilometers away from the Philippine capital and provides “easy access” for ships patrolling the West Philippine Sea, a Navy official said last year. 

- With a report from Reuters

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