SMC starts initial work at Bulacan Airport

Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has started preliminary construction for the P734-billion airport project touted as the largest airport deal under the Duterte administration.

Transportation assistant secretary Giovanni Lopez told the Daily Tribune by email the project’s geotechnical investigation and engineering surveys, dubbed as the New Manila International Airport, is 80 percent accomplished.

Lopez said SMC is awaiting lab results and interpretation from Singapore-based firms tapped for the survey.

The site survey and relocation will help proponents finalize the earthwork and foundation design and execute the necessary earthwork repairs.

According to him, the execution of the studies started around the second week of May through the assistance of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) Project Management Office, which provided security passes to various project contractors and consultants to ensure health and safety protocols are strictly observed.

Transportation chief Arthur Tugade, in a recent Malacañang briefing, said the project is not likely to face delay even though progress is slow.

It should be noted SMC did not proceed with the groundbreaking scheduled in December 2019 originally but reset to January 2020 due to “private issues” cited by president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang and the blanket impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the DoTr and SMC have yet to announce a new groundbreaking schedule, both gave assurance the project will push through despite lengthy delays.

SMC received the notice to proceed with the unsolicited Bulacan International Airport proposal in September last year.

The airport is a 2,400-hectare property in Bulakan, Bulacan with four runways, eight taxiways and three passenger terminals plus provisions for future expansion for six runways and accommodate 200 million passengers per year.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank previously tagged the project as among the “five airport megaprojects” around the world.