Megaworld pays P1.2b for old Iloilo airport

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Publicly listed Megaworld Corp. of property tycoon Andrew Tan yesterday remitted P1.2 billion to the national government as full payment for the purchase of the sprawling 54.5-hectare old airport in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves received the check from Megaworld first vice president Monica Salomon after they signed agreements at the Department of Finance yesterday afternoon.

“Proceeds of the sale will be booked by October,” Teves said.

Outgoing Finance Undersecretary John Philip Sevilla, meanwhile, told reporters that the entire proceeds amounting to P1.2 billion would be remitted to the Bureau of Treasury.

Salomon told reporters after the signing that the company planned to transform the property into a mixed-use complex consisting of facilities for business process outsourcing, hotels and convention centers, among others.

She said Megaworld was initially investing P1.5 billion to develop the property. Construction of BPO facilities will get priority at the old Iloilo airport, which Megaworld plans to transform into a special economic zone.

The government on May 9 declared a failed bidding on the old Iloilo City airport after Robinsons Land of taipan John Gokongwei, SM Prime Holdings of retail king Henry Sy and Empire East Holdings of businessman Andrew Tan tendered bids below the P1.2-billion floor price.

Robinsons Land emerged as the highest bidder with P1.089 billion, followed by Empire East with P701 million and SM Prime Holdings with P435.7 million. Two other pre-qualified bidders, property giant Ayala Land and Lopez-owned Rockwell Land, did not show up during the bidding.

The national government is banking heavily on non-tax revenues like the privatization of major assets to offset the huge collection shortfall of both the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs.

The government expects to raise at least P70 billion from the sale of government assets this year and has successfully raised P42.9 billion in the first eight months of the year.

Major assets sold this year include the government’s indirect stake in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. worth P25.2 billion, a 20 percent stake in PNOC-Energy Development Corp. worth P16.6 billion and its remaining interest in Philippine National Bank worth P998 million.