NAIA-3 to open soon

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE case filed against officials of the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Fraport Ag of Germany and other firms engaged in airport-related services will not stand in the way of the imminent opening of Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Malacañang said this yesterday in reaction to charges of conspiracy to violate the anti-dummy law filed by the National Bureau of Investigation-Special Investigation Services against executives of Piatco, Fraport, Philippine Airport and Ground Services, Philippine Airport and Ground Services Terminal Inc., Philippine Airport and Ground Services Terminal Holdings Inc. and People’s Air Cargo and Warehousing Co. Inc.

Melanio Elvis Balayan, convenor and executive director of the Concerned Lawyers for Moral and Effective Leadership, who filed the complaint, accused the officials of the six firms of circumventing the law limiting foreign ownership in public utilities to 40 percent.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the NBI findings and its recommendations are “separate and distinct” from the legal issues between the government and Piatco, the consortium that built the airport.

Bunye added that the court has resolved the legal issues between the government and Piatco.

“The government has already complied with the court’s compensation order and the government’s objective is to expedite the opening of the NAIA Terminal 3,” he said.

The government paid Piatco P3 billion as initial compensation early this month in compliance with an earlier ruling of the High Tribunal. Malacañang had said they are also prepared to pay the remainder of the compensation due Piatco pending the result of the assessment made by an international valuation group.

Palace officials said the government is eyeing the commercial operations of the new airport within six to eight months.