THE Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is inviting interested bidders to join a so-called price challenge for a long-term contract to manage, operate and maintain the 94-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) until 2043.
In an invitation to bid, BCDA said it intends to assign its rights, interest and obligations in the management, operation and maintenance of SCTEX under an agreement for a period until 2043.
The SCTEX is a fully operated and world-class four-lane expressway traversing the provinces of Bataan, Pampanga and Tarlac. The road provides a direct link to Metro Manila via the Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX).
The BCDA and the Manila North Toll Corp. (MNTC) signed a business and operating agreement (BCDA) for SCTEX in 2011 subject to the approval of the Office of the President (OP). In the interest of transparency and competition, the OP has directed that the MNTC’s offer be subjected to a price challenge.
In this regard, BCDA is inviting proponents to a price challenge of MNTC’s offer as follows:
- Payment of upfront cash of P35 billion, which is inclusive of 12 percent value added tax (VAT) to BCDA.
- 50/50 sharing of gross toll revenues between BCDA and the private sector partner (PSP)
- Assumption of PSP of the operation and maintenance costs and responsibilities over SCTEX and
- Assumption of the ongoing integration Agreement for the Toll Collection System of the NLEX and the SCTEX.
The object of the price challenge is the upfront cash only, which should b higher than P35 billion, payable upon signing of the agreement.
The other aforesaid commercial terms should be accepted by the proponents. However, the MNTC has the right to motion the upfront cash proposal of the highest rated and responsive proponent (HRRP) in which case, MNTC shall be awarded the contract. If MNTC fails to match the upfront cash offer of the HRRP, the loser shall be awarded the contract.
The proponents may either be local or foreign.
Details of the price challenge are contained in the Terms of Reference (TOR), which may be purchased beginning December 11,2014 for a non-refundable fee of P500,000, payable to BCDA in manager’s check. A copy of said TOR will also be available for perusal at the BCDA website, www.bcda.gov.ph.
A pre-selection conference to discuss the TOR and the SCTEX shall be held at the BCDA Board Room on January 6, 2015 at 2 pm.
Metro Pacific ‘in dialogue’
Earlier, Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) said it has received the official advice of the BCDA saying that Malacanang has directed to subject the SCTEX project to a Swiss challenge.
“Yes, few days ago we have received the official advice of the BCDA, saying that they will subject our SCTEX project,” MNTC chairman Manuel Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of MVP Bossing Awards.
“Well, it’s official, so the process of the price challenge has started, so we are in dialogue and respect of what they called terms of reference under which they will put out the price challenge,” he added.
MNTC bagged the SCTEX contract during the Arroyo administration. The company renegotiated the contract in 2011, but the Aquino administration delayed the approval of the concession because of concerns on revenue sharing raised by the Department of Finance (DOF).
BCDA president Arnel Paciano Casanova said President Aquino wants a Swiss challenge to MPIC’s proposal to operate the SCTEX.
A Swiss challenge is a form of public procurement that requires a government agency that has received an unsolicited bid for a public project to publish the bid and invite third parties to match or exceed it.
“I won’t say we have a say. They will have the final say. I think it’s framed on one hand by the best offer we’ve put to them and on the other hand, the parameters have been approved by the Office of the President, so we just have to wait,” Pangilinan said.
MPTC and MNTC are subsidiaries of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC).
Pangilinan, who is also MPIC president, said the contract has been renegotiated two times and is now on its third year.
“At the end of the day, the terms of reference will be defined by the BCDA. I’m sure they will check with the Office of the President, and number two, it would depend on the potential bidders,” Pangilinan said.
He added, “I don’t know if it is (legal). It is not for me to say if it is legal or illegal. We are just dealing with the situation as it is.”
Pangilinan further said, “Well, siguro trabaho lang ito. Wag na nating lagyan ng emosyon, di ba? Wag ba tayong mag emote emote [Well, perhaps this is just work. Let us not insert emotions into it. Let us not emote on it]. Let’s just deal with the facts. I think the government decided to put it up to a price challenge. We have officially been told that it would be subjected to a price challenge so be it.” Rosalie C. Periabras