Rebuilding for the Better Philippines updates
SMC proposes $10 Billion USD 1,600 Hectares World's Biggest Airport to rise at Manila Bay Philippines
NEW INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY Here is an artist’s rendition of San Miguel Corp.’s proposal of what could be the country’s largest and most modern airport—a $10-billion air terminal on reclaimed land on Manila Bay. SanMiguel Corp./CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is considering the proposal of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to put up a $10-billion international air gateway at a reclamation project in Manila Bay.
Michael Sagcal, Transportation department spokesman, said the agency was “very open” to the SMC proposal to establish the airport in the bay area covering the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas.
“We invite SMC to make a more formal presentation and to submit a proposal to us,” Sagcal said in an interview, adding that the massive airport project was presented to Malacañang on Wednesday.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya was present when SMC president Ramon Ang unveiled the airport plans to President Aquino. The project of SMC, which is part owner of flag carrier Philippine Airlines, would be located at CyberBay Corp.’s disputed waterfront reclamation project in Manila Bay, Sagcal said.
San Miguel, which owns a stake in flag carrier Philippine Airlines, told the Philippine Stock Exchange in a disclosure that reports of its bid to build the four-runway hub in Manila Bay were “accurate.”
It was not immediately clear how SMC’s airport project—an unsolicited proposal—would pan out since the DOTC earlier enlisted the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency to identify a second gateway to the country.
Also, the Aquino administration maintains a stance against unsolicited proposals, stating on several occasions that it prefers an open bid process.
But Abaya said in a text message on Thursday that an unsolicited proposal “isn’t illegal or prohibited, but again, the bias is toward solicited open and transparent bidding, which SMC is open to.”
Abaya said in March that JICA had identified the former US naval base in Sangley Point, Cavite, south of Metro Manila, as an ideal location.
“If SMC’s proposal turns out to be viable, we will consider it alongside JICA’s recommendations,” Sagcal said.
Airlines are frustrated with heavy congestion and other woes at Manila’s existing international airport, which has been named the worst in the world for two years running by an online travel guide.
The airport was hit by air conditioning failures in sweltering weather last month, just as millions of Filipinos began traveling for the Easter holidays—forcing Aquino to make a public apology.
The airport was built in 1981 to service six million passengers a year, but its terminals handled more than 32 million in 2012, according to the airport authority.
Philippine Airlines and other carriers routinely suffer flight delays as Manila and other airports across the country struggle to handle surging traffic.
Manila’s Terminal 1 was named the worst in the world for the second year running in 2013 by travel website “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports”.
Travelers criticized its “dilapidated facilities,” airport workers—particularly taxi drivers—long waiting times and rude officials.—Inquirer With a report from Agence France-Presse
WEF in Manila pre-conference briefing (From left) Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and WEF head of Asia Sushant Palakurthi Rao (Likha Cuevas-Miel, InterAksyon.com)
WEF in MANILA | PH's 'remarkable story' draws in 600 world leaders to talk ASEAN, food security
At least 600 world leaders from 30 countries are expected to converge in Manila next week to see for themselves the 'remarkable' growth story of the Philippines during the 23rd World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia to thresh out top economic and developmental issues of the region.
East Asia has recorded the fastest growth in the world as the economies of developed nations still lumbered last year, with the Philippines leading the pack in Southeast Asia.
In a pre-conference briefing on Thursday, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and WEF head of Asia Sushant Palakurthi Rao that this summit is a huge opportunity for the Philippines to showcase to the world its potential for investments. Moreover, it is also a chance for the Aquino administration to send the message to global leaders that its good governance platform bears good economic results.
"This is about capturing the mind share of decision makers. these are people we would like to expose to the Philippines. This is an opportunity to highlight the gains that we have had," said Purisima.
Participants in the WEF on East Asia in Manila are expected to arrive from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, India, Hong Kong, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Pakistan and Belgium.
About 460 business leaders from 25 industry sectors are also joining the discussions on topics ranging from leadership to finance.
According to WEF, holding this year's conference in Manila is a vote of confidence on the country's 'remarkable story', a comeback kid of sorts as the Philippines continues to take the spotlight with its improving competitive rankings, credit rating upgrades and robust economy.
"The past hosts of the WEF represented the peak of interest in their respective countries, in 2010 it was Vietnam, in 2011 Indonesia, and then Myanmar. The Philippines has a remarkable story and has really achieved a turn in its economy. The participation numbers are a reflection of global interest in the Philippines," Rao said.
The Aquino administration is spending P71 million for hosting the WEF on East Asia at the Makati Shangri-la on May 21 to 23. The amount includes expenses for shuttles and hotel rooms for guests who will also be given free tours within and outside Metro Manila.
Among the benefits that this conference would bring to the country is the prestige as this would show to the world that the Philippines is not just a dot on the map.
"These are intangibles. Reputation is intangible, image is intangible, these are hard to measure. The fact that they are here for the first time is a very important signal that they recognize the potential of the country," Purisima said.
Guillermo Luz, National Competitiveness Council private sector co-chair, the summit is expected to draw in more foreign direct investments (FDI) to the country, which could result to more jobs for Filipinos--as long as the government has the correct mindset in its pursuit of inclusive growth.
"Transport, infrastructure, those are the new frontiers to investment that we should promote. Let us take advantage of the problem areas that we have and turn it into FDI opportunities, bringing people here to see the opportunities and potential partnerships," Luz said.
Aside from this, the WEF also presents a great opportunity for leaders to discuss issues that need collective thought and action.
"[The WEF] will also be a platform to discuss challenges, and there are many challenges. But there is a collective will among leaders to address them together, and ensure that the economic performance of the region translates to inclusive growth and equitable progress for all," WEF's Rao said.
"Given the number of ministers, NGOs, civil society groups, it is an unprecedented opportunity to have a public-private dialogue, cross-sectoral dialogue that is hard to attain otherwise," he added.
ASEAN, food security
Among the topics that WEF would be tackling are the ASEAN Economic Integration that would commence next year.
Purisima said bringing the ASEAN integration to the fore is important as "intra-ASEAN trade is growing rapidly, and has even outpaced the growth of world trade."
As a collective, the ASEAN's gross domestic product is around $2 trillion.
Representatives from different parts of Asia will also be discussing regional security next week.
Regional tensions have risen in the past few weeks, with China and Vietnam's maritime skirmishes reaching new heights as it sparked deadly riots in the latter.
China claims almost the entire oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, junking rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. In the East China Sea, Beijing is locked in an increasingly bitter dispute with Japan.
China is skipping this year's WEF on East Asia but Rao said this does not have anything to do with the country's ongoing tensions with the Philippines.
Also included in the issues to be tackled is food security amid a climate-dictated future. Rao said the WEF summit would set the stage for a public-private dialogue towards achieving food security since "we need to feed a rapidly growing population."
With that as a centerpiece, WEF will be launching food security partnerships among the largest food and beverage companies and Asian governments, with the goal of providing livelihood and sustainability to the region through agricultural transformation.
Climate change is also on top of the list of issues to be discussed, specifically designing solutions or adopting business models to mitigate climate change-induced respire risks and vulnerabilities.
According to the Asian Development Bank, Asia in the last two decades has borne almost half of the global economic cost of natural disasters estimated at $53 billion a year. With a report from Likha Cuevas-Miel, InterAksyon.com
Philippines - Merchandise exports posted a double-digit growth in March with an 11.2-percent rise to $5.227 billion from the $4.699 billion a year ago.
"The positive growth was mainly brought about by the increase of seven major commodities out of the top ten commodities for the month. These are: bananas (fresh); machinery and transport equipment; ignition wiring set and other wiring sets used in vehicles, aircrafts and ships; other mineral products; woodcrafts and furniture; electronic products; and articles of apparel and clothing accessories," the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
It was the second consecutive month exports posted a double-digit growth, after the revised 11.6 percent registered earlier.
Electronic products took the lion's share in the earnings, accounting for a 41.4 percent of the total revenue. The country's top export posted a 10.1-percent increase to $2.166 billion from the $1.967 billion posted last year.
Japan was the country's top export destination, with a 25-percent share in the total receipts. This was followed by the United States, (13.7 percent), China (10.7 percent), Hong Kong (8 percent) and Singapore (7.5 percent).
Exports to East Asia accounted for 51.7 percent of the total, followed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at 15.4 percent and the European Union which accounted for 11.8 percent. - philstar