A province of the Philippines has annulled its decision to award an $10bn airport project to a consortium led by a Chinese state company.

This comes as a blow to President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte’s pro-Beijing policy shift and infrastructure ambitions, reported Reuters.

In 2019, the consortium of China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) and Philippines-based firm MacroAsia Corp was the sole bidder in the auction to assist the Cavite Provincial Government for the renovation of Sangley Airport.

However, Cavite’s governor Juanito Victor Remulla told Reuters that the consortium’s documentation was ‘deficient in three or four items’.

Remulla said: “We saw it as a sign they were not fully committed.”

In an earlier announcement, MacroAsia said that due to the coronavirus travel restrictions, the consortium failed to provide the required documents.

Remulla also clarified that the decision was not connected to the US ban of CCCC and other Chinese state firms in August 2020.

The US has debarred several Chinese corporations over their involvement in constructing military installations in disputed areas of the South China Sea, one of which is within missile range of the Philippines.

Following this, the Philippines foreign minister recommended the termination of projects involving those firms.

However, Duterte’s office rejected the recommendation on the grounds that their completion was in the interest of the nation.

Sangley Airport, which was intended to take the pressure off Manila Airport, was one of two multi-billion airport projects.

On social media, Governor Remulla announced that Cavite would commence new negotiations for a private sector partner.