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.