La industrial by Jose Guevara
I have always loved detective movies, shifting to the clues and guessing who the possible suspects are.
The past few months I could not help but quietly observe the ongoing orchestrated demolition job being done on innocent and emerging conglomerate, Megawide Corp.
I have been a silent fan watching this company win and complete project after project. They have been transforming the cityscape of our country with their beautifully designed buildings.
Before the pandemic, I was lucky to have a flight that treated me to witness, first-hand, the pleasing architecture of the Cebu Mactan International Airport. The design is the best complement to Cebu since it is one of the design capitals of the world. The airport in fact won numerous global awards for its design even besting Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport at the World Architecture Festival.
So it saddens me that a well-funded demolition job is attempting to destroy the reputation of a company that is bringing so much pride and praise to our country. A certain Partylist congressman, Rep. Jericho Nograles, has been paid taking the head to lead the hack job versus Megawide Corp.
As I read through newspaper articles countering each other in various forums, I cannot help but try to figure out who is the principal behind Rep. Jericho Nograles and his advocacy of being anti-Filipino in attempting to destroy a fellow Filipino company.
I am not alone in this guessing game. Iris Gonzales in her column Eyes Wide Open in the Philippine Star wrote “Who really wants to get NAIA?” where she explored the topic by listing several usual suspects, namely, the NAIA Super Consortium, other airport proponents who don’t want the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to modernize, existing NAIA stakeholders who might be affected, or could it be a totally new player in the airport business which she describes as a streetsmart, successful and agile tycoon who really dreams of developing NAIA.
“Only time will tell,” she mentioned in the article. However, I would like to expound on each concept further especially being the closet detective that I am.
The NAIA Super Consortium
Composed of seven of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines the tycoons behind the NAIA Super Consortium need no introduction. The seven families are the Ayalas, Aboitizes, Andrew Tan’s, Lucio Tan’s, the Gotianuns, Manny Pangilinan’s, and the Gokongweis. It is an interesting mix because they are mostly rivals in various industries. It seemed very exciting to have them join forces to improve our ailing airport. But for reasons unknown they pulled out of the project.
Other airport proponents who don’t want NAIA to modernize
It is worthy to note that in the Super Consortium one particular tycoon missing is Ramon Ang with his San Miguel Corporation. The reason being is, he is building his own airport in Bulacan. Still, I cannot imagine how he would have a hand in delaying the NAIA as it is not a threat to his project. In fact, NAIA’s growth will only complement his airport project as it is still several years away.
Another airport proponent is the Sangley Airport in Cavite. NAIA, as it is situated south of Manila, serves as the biggest threat to Sangley Airport in terms of traffic and business. In fact, the Governor of Cavite has suggested in various reports to convert NAIA to an open park as a measure to decongest the area leading to Cavite, as well as, there being the new Sangley Airport in the province.
Existing NAIA stakeholders who might be affected
There are many current stakeholders who are raking in good money with their existing contracts in NAIA. Obviously, a change in management may change their fortune similar to what happens when there is a change regime, like when the one who wins is from an opposing camp. So this is also a possibility.
A totally new player in the airport business
Now, this is where it gets interesting. The columnist Iris Gonzales describes the person as “a streetsmart, successful and agile tycoon who really dreams of developing NAIA.” Top of mind would be Davao’s Dennis Uy who has been cornering projects left and right in this administration.
But as for me, I feel it could be Congressman Mikee Romero, and let me tell you why. His attack dog is Congressman Nograles. During the recent fight for the House speakership, when suddenly removed as deputy speaker, it was Congressman Jericho Nograles who came out in the media and cried foul over Congressman Romero’s removal and giving numerous interviews in the media. Congressman Romero owns Air Asia Philippines and his family business used to own a seaport. The style of the demolition job fits his personality. It can be recalled that similar things happened when he fought his father for control of the Manila North Harbour.
So let’s bring out our popcorn and place your bets on who you think is behind the NAIA demolition job, but I hope it gets resolved soon in favor of Megawide so we can finally have an award-winning world-class airport that is fitting to be the premier gateway to the country.