Press Release
June 27, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today dared the Asian Emerging Dragon Corp. (AEDC), headed by businessman Lucio Tan, to make good on its threat to take legal action against the government if it goes ahead with the opening of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport-Terminal 3.

Pimentel was reacting to a statement of former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Perfecto Yasay, legal counsel for the AEDC, that the corporation will sue the government if it allows the operation of the long-mothballed NAIA-3.

AEDC was the original consortium which bagged the contract to build the modern air terminal. Another group, the Philippine International Air Terminals Company (Piatco), won the rebidding of the facility.

Lucio Tan and his associates should do what they threaten to do so that the issues connected with the opening of the NAIA-3 would be put to rest. It is in the best interest of the country that such a step is taken by Mr. Tan et al because it is worse if the facility is allowed to lie fallow and rot, Pimentel said.

The minority leader assailed the prolonged delay in the completion and opening of the air terminal, which was originally set to start commercial operation in late 2002.

Pimentel said the repeated postponement of the opening of NAIA-3 has hampered the countrys ability to cope with a growing number of air travelers aside from being a cause of embarrassment in the eyes of the international community.

The country needs the facility to be opened soonest to serve our incoming and outgoing international passengers, he said.

Pimentel attributed the fiasco over NAIA-3 to vested interest groups that sought to grab the air terminal project.

He said the Arroyo administration could not avoid responsibility for the disastrous consequences especially since it decided to void the build-operate-contract for the NAIA-3 that was awarded to PIATCO, and its foreign partner, Fraport of Germany, even after the air terminal was nearly completed.

It is a pity that after the contract to construct the terminal was approved by three administrations (Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo), its public use is being held hostage by some vested interests. Let those vested interests fight it out with the courts to determine their rights. But let the facility be used now by the people for whose benefit it was constructed, the minority leader said.

Pimentel was disturbed by reports emanating from transportation and aviation authorities that the opening of NAIA-3 may be moved further to the summer of 2007 because the Japanese engineering firm, Takenaka, is supposedly reluctant to finish the construction in the absence of a contract with the government.

Also, the opening of NAIA-3 hinges on the governments ability to pay PIATCO and its investors. The compensation issue is being adjudicated with the International Center for the Settlement of Industrial Disputes in Washington D.C. and the International Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

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