Today's Punto
Today's Punto
PGKM hits Sangley Pt. plan
As PHL’s premier int’l gateway
By Ashley Manabat

Jun 20, 2013

ANGELES CITY – The recent proposal of the All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. (ARRC) consortium to build an international airport and seaport on reclaimed land off Cavite City was met with stiff opposition from the Pinoy Gumi-sing Ka Movement (PGKM), an advocacy group here moving for the full and immediate develop-ment of the Clark International Airport (CIA).

“Now we know. All our fears that politicians are out to sabotage the development of the Clark airport are slowly coming to reality,” noted PGKM Chair Ruperto Cruz.

 ”Imperial Manila is acting up again,” he said.

 ”A fatal accident is waiting to happen if the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the proposed Aquino-Sangley International Airport (ASIA) will operate simultaneously within a restricted airspace,” noted Cruz.

The Sangley Point proposal is flawed from the very start considering its position and the reality of climate change and global warming, he said.

“The flooding in the metropolis caused by Typhoon Ondoy and the habagat flash flood phenomena are wake up calls that we must heed,” Cruz said.

“Clearly, an airport built from the sea is dangerous,” Cruz said, since “land reclamation causes habitat destruction” and in some countries “this is no longer allowed” in the light of climate change and global warming.

According to Google earth, Clark Field has an elevation of 171 meters above sea level while Cavite City’s shore land fronting Manila Bay is at sea level. Sangley Point Naval Station, a former communication and hospital facility of the United States Navy which occupies the northern portion of the city peninsula and surrounded by Manila Bay, is at one meter above sea level.

Published reports said the ARRC consortium, headed by William Tieng of the Solar Group, in its proposal submitted last January 10 to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), “was in response to the need to develop premier international gateways in the country, as well as Executive Order No. 629, Series of 2007, directing the PRA to convert Sangley Point in Cavite City into an international logistics hub with a modern airport and seaport through an enabling reclamation component.”

Tieng’s brother Wilson sits as chair of ARRC while Manuel Beriña Jr., former deputy director general of Public Estates Authority (PEA) which is the forerunner of the PRA now headed by Peter Anthony Abaya, is the firm’s president and CEO.

 ”Sangley will not decongest Manila but lead to more congestion,” Cruz said. “Is this what we want instead of developing the countryside?” he asked. “The conspiracy theory is bolstered with this,” he said.

Cruz also lambasted the ARRC pronouncement that Sangley is better than Clark. The land on which the proposed ASIA is yet to be reclaimed while Clark already exists protected with natural barriers like the Zambales mountain ranges in the west, he reasoned.

The Sangley Point proposal has no advantages contrary to the ARRC claims, said Cruz.

Touting the advantages of its proposed airport, the ARRC report said “the adjacent areas and approaches to the ASIA are largely over water and would allow airport operation on a 24-hour basis.”

The ARRC said “the availability of space for the expansion of the airport for a third runway is possible while this will not be possible in the CIA anymore. This makes investment in the development of Sangley a long-term strategic outlook that is driven by logic and not politics …

As Sangley becomes integrated into the Greater Metro Manila Area, this will enable the metropolis to retain its bragging rights of being the seat of the premier international airport and capital of the Philippines.”

”This smacks of nothing but purely vested interests,” said Cruz. “How can it be logical when in fact it’s not? How can it not be politics when very clearly it is?” observed Cruz noting that Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who is the former congressional representative of the First District of Cavite is also the brother of PRA’s (Peter Anthony) Abaya.

Cruz said “(Secretary Mar) Roxas boys in the DOTC are dictating the pace of the development in the country and their proposals like this one is detrimental to the country’s progress.

“The Sangley Point proposal serves the interest of a few men and not the interest of the nation,” said Cruz.

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