Navy firm on Sangley stay amid airport push

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 26) — The Philippine Navy supports the planned upgrade of Sangley Airport to an international gateway as long as its naval base is retained in the strategic spot, a ranking official said Wednesday.

“We support the move for the establishment of a Sangley Point International Airport. But we also want ownership and [to] be part of the development,” Brig. Gen. Noel Beleran, commander of the Naval Installation Command in Sangley Point said at his confirmation hearing at the Commission on Appointments.

He was responding to Senator Risa Hontiveros, who asked about the possibility of the Navy being booted out of Sangley Point in Cavite because of the airport project. Beleran said the Navy is not backing down.

“It is the stand of the Navy as mentioned by our flag officer-in-command that we want to stay in Sangley Point for the reason that this is a strategic location guarding the entrance to Manila Bay and this shall be considered as a main hub for the issue response time of our ships in responding to any exigency outside of Metro Manila,” Beleran said.

Sangley is a 15-minute ferry ride from the CCP Bay Terminal in Manila.

Early this year, the provincial government of Cavite canceled its deal with the consortium of Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corporation and state-owned China Communications Construction Company Ltd. or CCCC for the multibillion-peso public-private partnership project. CCCC's involvement raised concerns as its subsidiaries are blacklisted by the US for playing a role in Beijing's construction and alleged militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea.

The local government has since invited interested firms to another bidding process. Beleran cited one of the proposals but did not go into details.

“There are areas that they want to reclaim, offering us a deeper depth for our big ships so that we can sustain our naval presence and maritime operations in the area,” Beleran said.

The powerful CA approved Beleran’s promotion to Brigadier General, along with the ad interim appointments and nominations of 49 other officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during its plenary session on Wednesday. The highest ranking among the officers present was AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Education, Training, and Doctrines Antonio Palces, whose nomination to the rank of rear admiral was confirmed by the CA.