MANILA - The Sangley Airport contract that was canceled last week was only for the feasibility study on the project, China’s Ambassador to the Philippines said on Thursday.
Last week, the local government of Cavite said it had canceled its award of a $10 billion Sangley Airport deal to a consortium made up of Chinese state-backed company and a firm owned by tycoon Lucio Tan.
Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said the contract was canceled because the consortium's documentation was "deficient in three or four items".
But Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said Thursday that only the contract for the feasibility study was canceled, and “not the so-called $10 billion project.”
“According to the agreement of both sides, the winning bidder-a joint venture of the Chinese company and its Philippine partners would invest $20 million on their own within a certain period of time and they would conduct the feasibility study of the construction of Sangley Point Airport for the Cavite Provincial government,” Huang said.
“Due to the impact of the Covid-19, the feasibility study has not been launched yet and is canceled at this stage,” he added.
The Chinese official added that the feasibility study was “a pure commercial project and not related to the Central Government of the Philippines or the Chinese Government.”
Huang said the project was “not relevant to the Belt and Road Initiative” and some people “politicized this issue.”
China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) and MacroAsia in 2019 won the auction to partner with the Cavite provincial government to upgrade the Sangley 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.
Lawmakers and security analysts warned that the airport was a "national security issue" and warned 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.
In September however, Duterte gave the go signal for the airport project even after the US blacklisted CCCC.