Philippine govt step closer to expropriating Manila terminal

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The Philippine Government is going ahead with its plan to pay Philippine International Airport Terminals (PIATCO) three billion pesos ($59 million) in compensation for repossessing the airport terminal in Manila that the consortium built but never got to operate.

A temporary restraining order by the Philippine Court of Appeals was lifted a few days ago which means the Government can now pay PIATCO three billion pesos, the Philippine president’s press secretary Ignacio Bunye says in a statement, adding that once the payment is made the government can get the courts to expropriate the terminal.

He describes the pay-out as “a huge sum of money” but it is only a fraction of the $565 million compensation PIATCO’s lawyers have reportedly been seeking to secure for their client.

Bunye says: “This legal dispute has incurred so much delay and we believe it is high time now to settle this issue once and for all in order to serve the interests of the public.”

The three billion pesos is “a reasonable price to pay compared to what we are set to gain once we fully start operations,” he adds.

Work on the terminal finished in 2003 but the dispute between PIATCO and the Government has meant it has never opened.

The current Philippine Government has asserted throughout the dispute that it is allowed to expropriate the terminal because in 2002 the Philippine Supreme Court nullified the contract.

PIATCO in 1997 won the contract to build and operate the third terminal at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport but after that there was change in Government. German airport operator Fraport owns 30% of PIATCO.