MANILA, Philippines - The government has widened its NAIA Expressway project to stretch all the way to Pagcor City, and Pagcor's controversial investor, Kazuo Okada, again comes up as among its financiers.
Originally, the elevated expressway will run from NAIA’s sales interchange that's linked up to the Skyway to Roxas Boulevard.
But Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said Pagcor’s chairman Cristino Naguiat and the four investors in its so-called Entertainment City want the expressway to be extended to Diosdado Macapagal Avenue.
The NAIA Expressway project is one of the government's large-scale public-private partnership projects, contracts for which, President Aquino wants to be clean.
Singson sees no problem in having Okada on board.
“That's the concern of Pagcor. Whether it's Okada or some other investors coming from the Pagcor City, that's for them to agree on. But we met with the representative of that group and they have no problem,” he said.
Okada's Universal Entertainment is one of Pagcor City's licensees. Others are Andrew Tan's Alliance Global, which tied up with Genting Hong Kong, Henry Sy’s Belle Corp. and Enrique Razon's Bloomberry Investments.
Okada is embroiled in a corporate and legal battle with American casino billionaire Steve Wynn, who alleged Okada bribed Pagcor officials to get the license.
Singson said Pagcor's investors will fund half of the P12-billion NAIA expressway project. The rest will be shouldered by whoever wins a bidding slated for September.
“We're winding up our meetings and just agreeing on the investment that we expected.”
“Originally there was government subsidy, we're taking out that government subsidy and the locators are the ones providing that component so we will still go for bidding in terms of who will be the operator, who will construct the project, but with the assurance that there will be investment coming from the locators,” Singson added.
This early, Manuel Pangilinan's Metro Pacific Investments Group said it's interested in joining the bidding.
“All of those projects in the high-standard highways plan are of interest to us. In particular, the Cala and NAIA expressway are of interest to us,” said MPIC president Jose Ma. Lim.
Singson said apart from Metro Pacific, the Citra group and Ramon Ang's San Miguel have expressed interest in investing in the project.