Phivolcs: SMC airport site in Bulacan prone to ground shaking, liquefaction
MANILA, Philippines — The director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that the site where the P740 billion domestic and international airport in Bulacan to be built by San Miguel Aerocity Inc. is prone to ground-shaking and liquefaction.
During a hearing on Wednesday of the Senate public services committee, Phivolcs director Dr. Renato Solidum said that although the site of the proposed “New Manila International Airport” in the coastal areas of Bulakan town is far away from any fault system, it is prone to strong ground shaking and liquefaction. San Miguel Aerocity Inc., a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
“Just to be very specific on the facts is that it is far away from the fault. But since it’s underlain by sand with a shallow water table, it’s prone to strong ground shaking and liquefaction,” Solidum said.
Liquefaction, according to the United States Geological Survey, takes place when “loosely packed, water-logged sediments at or near the ground surface lose their strength in response to strong ground shaking.”
However, Solidum said such hazards can be mitigated as long as the airport has “proper design and construction.”
Aside from ground shaking, Solidum also noted the flood hazards in the site of the airport — a concern that has long been raised by environmental groups.
“Now on the aspect of flood hazards, then the area must ensure that appropriate drainage systems are really undertaken, and as explained by SMC, they’re doing that to avoid flooding in the airport area and also in the adjacent municipalities,” Solidum said.
“The area is already flood-prone, as we speak, but it’s important that they can make it lesser flood-prone, then we can make it better for the community,” he added.
SMC previously said that it was set to build a multibillion peso flood control program to mitigate the perennial flooding in Bulacan once it receives the go signal for the project to start.
Melissa Encanto-Tagarda, head of SMC’s government relations, said the company has tapped foreign partners who are experts in airport construction and safety designs.
The proposed international airport, which sits on a 2,500 hectare property in Bulakan town, Bulacan and will be called the SMC Aerocity, has recently been awarded its franchise by the House of Representatives and is now seeking the Senate approval.
The franchise allows SMC to own and operate the four-runway air facility for domestic and international flights for 50 years, including tax reliefs during the construction period.
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