DECEMBER  OPENING  OF NAIA-3  UNLIKELY

MANILA, October 28, 2005
 (MALAYA) BY FRANCIS CUETO - Transport secretary Leandro Mendoza yesterday ruled out a December "soft opening" of the international airport terminal 3 and hinted the likelihood of its opening by the first quarter of 2006.

"We are targeting now a full operations (opening) by the first quarter. Although there are factors that could affect that like the peak season, which is up to March," Mendoza said.

Mendoza said the Manila International Airport Authority would operate the terminal temporarily.

Mendoza said government would abide by what the court would decide on the petition for mandamus filed before the Supreme Court by Asiaís Emerging Dragon Corp. (AEDC) "What to do next is something that the court has to decide. We will wait and abide by the court decision," he said.

An official from the DOTC earlier said that the government, after operating the terminal would bid out the operations.

Lead counsel for AEDC Perfecto Yasay Jr., said that if this happens, the company would seek for a temporary restraining order pending a decision by the court on who would operate the terminal.

Yasay said that while they are not objecting to the plans by government to operate the terminal, government first has to give a "just compensation" to Philippine International Air Terminals Co (PIATCO).

The Office of the Solicitor General has given a $62-million "downpayment" under an expropriation proceedings but PIATCO is seeking for a compensation of $620 million.

"We have money to pay, thatís not a problem. The court will determine the amount of compensation. We are looking at a just compensation of $300M, we can get it," Mendoza said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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