New Manila International Airport

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The New Manila International Airport, also known as Bulacan International Airport, is an international airport plus city or aerocity on the coastal areas of Bulakan, Bulacan, 35 kilometers north of Manila. The 2,500-hectare property is almost three times the size of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the main international gateway of the Philippines located in Metro Manila.

The New Manila International Airport is a public-private partnership (PPP) project with a build-operate-transfer (BOT) structure with a design capacity of 200 million passengers per year. It will consist of 4 runways, 8 taxiways, and 3 passenger terminals, and all aviation related facilities to serve some 100 million passengers annually. A 200-megawatt solar farm will also be constructed to help power the new airport.

As the first “pacesetter for green cities” in the Philippines, it aims to address social and environmental concerns to be both sustainable and equitable. It also aims to be an alternative gateway to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The Congress granted the franchise to construct the Php 738 billion airport. San Miguel Corporation (SMC) secured a 50-year franchise to build, operate, and maintain the international airport. After the 50-year franchise, the facility will be turned over to the government. Under Republic Act No. 11506, SMC will also be exempted on tax payments and supervision fees during the construction period.

Dutch firm Royal Boskalis Westminster NV, through its subsidiary Boskalis Philippines, is tasked to “restore” the land where the airport will be located. Land development is expected to be fully completed in 2024. The first phase of construction started on 14 October 2020 and is expected to be finished by 2026.

The proposed airport – which is one of the flagship infrastructure programs of the President Rodrigo Duterte administration known as “Build, Build, Build” – is part of the envisioned 12,000-hectare township that features a residential zone, government center, seaport, and industrial zone.

Displaced fishermen=

The fishermen in the area opposed the project as it affected their livelihoods, while conservation organization Oceana said the airport violated environmental laws. In January 2021, the Supreme Court of the Philippines (SC) dismissed the writ of kalikasan petition filed by Ocean for lack of sufficient form and substance.

The fishermen were relocated to new homes in Sitio Pulo Purok 6 in Barangay Bambang and were provided community meat stores by SMC. But because the economy remains unstable in the pandemic, the relocated fishermen had to augment their family income by catching fish, prawns, and crabs. On the instances that they were able to sail out to the waters off Bambang village, each earned a minimum catch of Php 1,000 to Php 4,000, except during the monsoon season which kept them away from the sea. Their wives, who were also given freezers so they could sell SMC products to their neighbors, spent more of their time making woven fish traps. The relocated families preferred to return on their original land given the chance.

Project time line

  • February 2017: SMC proposed the construction of the airport
  • April 2018: The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the proposal
  • November 2018: The Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the SMC to collaborate on the development and operation of the airport
  • December 2018: NEDA approved the negotiation report on the Concession Agreement (CA) regarding the project
  • September 2019: San Miguel Aerocity Inc. was awarded a close to USD 14 billion contract to oversee the implementation of the project
  • March 2021: Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade reported that the groundbreaking ceremony of the airport will take place in Q2 2021




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