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GMR-Megawide tandem, 4 others eye airport PPP projects.

The private concessionaire of Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and four other conglomerates are vying for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects to manage and develop five regional airports that are presently run by government.

Aside from the GMR-Megawide Consortium, the tandem of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. and JG Summit Holdings Inc., Philippine Skylanders Inc., San Miguel Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. have bought documents detailing the instructions to prospective bidders.

The prospective bidders need to prequalify before joining the auction of the airports development, operations and maintenance projects, initially worth a total of P116.23 billion.

The regional airports are bundled into two packages. The P20.26-billion Bacolod-Silay International Airport will be offered to investors together with P30.4-billion Iloilo International Airport, while the the P40.57-billion contract for Davao International Airport will be auctioned off together with the P14.62-billion Laguindingan Airport and P4.57-billion New Bohol (Panglao) Airport.

Under the proposed 30-year concession for the regional airports, the private sector partner will take over the operations and maintenance of the airports, undertake immediate expansion of the passenger terminal buildings, apron and other airside or landside facilities, and undertake capacity augmentation to cater to future demand throughout the contractual term.

However, air traffic control services (ATC), air navigation services (ANS) and operations and maintenance of the ATC and ANS facilities of the five airports will continue to be under the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), which currently runs the regional airport facilities.

During the prequalification conference with bidders yesterday, prospective bidders said government's decision to exclude Puerto Princesa airport in the bundling would make the Bacolod-Iloilo package "not too attractive" since it is "too small."

Bidders also clarified if government will impose an anti-monopoly policy in bidding out future airport PPP projects. So far, the development and management of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Clark International Airport (CIA), and San Fernando Airport are in the PPP pipeline.

"Winning this bid will not disqualify you solely from future airport PPP bidding," Transportation Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco said.

"Our initial inclination is that one bidder can only win one bundle. But there is some discussion as to allowing both bundles. That has to be formally answered in a bid bulletin," he further clarified.

For her part, PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said government has not yet decided on the other criteria for disqualification.

"Take for instance the MCIA PPP project, we imposed ownership restrictions for airline companies. So there are other criteria that might be considered for the next airport projects," she pointed out.

Canilao also clarified that government cannot give a blanket policy as to the bidding of airport PPP projects.

"We cannot give a blanket policy right now because prequalification criteria for all other PPP projects will depend on the size and the technical skills that will be required. If you ask us to make a blanket reply that winning this will disqualify you from bidding for future PPP projects, we cannot do that because it will depend on the prequalification criteria for each and every PPP project that we are going to roll out," she explained.

Earlier, DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya admitted studying the possibility of imposing an anti-monopoly policy on awarding airport PPP projects, judging from Argentina's experience of awarding all of its airport projects to one single private entity.

"We've heard that Argentina had all its airports awarded to one single private entity. Their government is now having a hard time to regulate because if that single entity walks out or collapses, all airports will stop operating," he said in an earlier interview.

In view of Argentina's experience, Abaya said, DOTC has hired a consultant to help the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) decide whether or not to impose an anti-monopoly policy or not, specifically on the airport PPP projects.

"We knew it (monopoly) can be an issue and I know DOTC got a consultant to help us on that policy issue and other related matters. We need an expert to help craft policy based on good practices and experiences world wide," Abaya added.

Under the indicative timeline for the regional airports PPP project, bidders have to submit their qualification documents by May 18. Qualified bidders will be notified five calendar days from the approval of prequalification evaluation results. Deadline of submission of bid proposals, however, is yet to be announced but the issuance of notice to award is targeted by March 2016.

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Title Annotation:Business News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Apr 7, 2015
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