Duterte greenlights Sangley Airport project

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2020 01:00 PM | Updated as of Sep 01 2020 01:59 PM

Duterte greenlights Sangley Airport project 1
An artist's rendition of the proposed Sangley Point International Airport. Handout

MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte has greenlighted the Sangley Airport project in Cavite, Malacañang said Tuesday as it noted that the government's priority is to finish all major infrastructure programs before the chief executive steps down in 2022. 

Duterte gave the go signal for the airport project even after its foreign contractor--China Communications Construction Co (CCCC)--was reported to have been blacklisted by the United States.

"The Sangley project will push through," Duterte's spokesperson Harry Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

"Malinaw po ang sinabi ni Presidente. Hindi siya susunod sa direktiba ng mga Amerikano dahil tayo po ay malaya at independienteng bansa at kinakailangan po natin ang mga namumuhunan galing sa bansang Tsina," he added.

(The President was clear: he will not follow the directives of the Americans because we are a free and independent nation, and we need investors from China.)

Last Aug. 28, the United States blacklisted several Chinese firms--including the CCCC--over its alleged role in building artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea. 

The CCCC, operated by the Chinese government, and tycoon Lucio Tan's MacroAsia bagged the Sangley Point International Airport project in 2019. 

MacroAsia had said that it would wait for the instructions of the Duterte administration on the project.

The $10 billion project, which involves land reclamation and expansion of an existing airport, is part of the government's infrastructure overhaul.