Government to prioritize SMC's Bulacan and Cavite's Sangley airport proposals

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — There's more pressure on the government to come up with alternatives to the nation's ageing and overcrowded main airport which was rendered unusable for days by an airplane mishap last week.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will prioritize the development of at least two projects to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA): the one in Bulacan proposed by San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC) and the Sangley airport of the local government of Cavite.

"The idea of having multiple airports is something that the world's biggest economies do," Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement Friday.

The Bulacan airport, an unsolicited proposal submitted by SMHC,  includes four parallel runways and a passenger terminal that can accomodate 100 million passengers a year. The project was approved by the National Economic Development Authority  board last April 25, but is still undergoing a Swiss challenge where third parties are invited to match or exceed the offer.

The Sangley Airport, on the other hand, still needs to be approved as the Cavite government has yet to submit the legal framework for the project's implementation.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' Business Roundup, Senator JV Ejercito said that the Senate would look into short, medium, and long-term plans to improve the Philippine airport system.

"I think SMC's proposal for the ultra modern airport in Bulacan will be for the long-term because it will take a while for a massive infrastructure project to finish," he said.

A short-term solution, Ejercito suggested, would be to upgrade the country's existing airports. Expanding the Clark airport, he added, would be a medium-term solution.

The Senate will hold a hearing on the state of the NAIA on August 29.