Given a history of multibillion-peso infrastructure projects being entangled in legal and political issues, the Philippines has long been viewed as a risky investment option by businessmen around the world.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), in fact, has entered into several such contracts during previous administrations. But DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya defended the agency’s recent decision to award the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) project to the GMR-Megawide Consortium, saying it enhances the international community’s perception of the Philippines as an investment destination.
“By sticking to the bidding rules and refusing to be influenced by external factors, we are showing the world that the country now has an excellent investment climate,” Abaya said.
On April 4, the DOTC formally awarded the Mactan-Cebu International Airport rehabilitation, expansion and operation project to the GMR-Megawide Consortium. The awarding followed several months of review of the various legal questions raised by a bidder in connection with the Mactan-Cebu airport project.
The GMR-Megawide Consortium emerged as the highest bidder after submitting a bid of P14.4 billion.
In a statement issued earlier, Michael Cosiquien, chairman and chief executive officer of Megawide Construction Corp. said: “We firmly believe that the GMR-Megawide Consortium has the right credentials and capabilities to undertake this prestigious project and deliver a world class airport that Cebuanos and Filipinos will be proud of.”
GMR Infrastructure and Megawide Construction said they will combine their expertise and track record to transform the Mactan-Cebu International Airport into a world-class facility.
Once operational, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is expected to become a regional hub creating passenger and cargo traffic growth, jobs for local community, a rise in tourism traffic and multiplier economic benefits to the region.
The winning group expressed confidence that their proposed design reflects a modern expression of the traditional Filipino architecture and imbibes the cultural ethos of Cebu, without sacrificing efficiency.
Going forward, the GMR-Megawide consortium will be closely collaborating with Cebu-based, as well as international, architects and designers to develop the project.
Megawide is one of the country’s leading construction firms listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange since 2011, while GMR is a leading infrastructure company with diverse businesses across various industries such as airports, energy and urban infrastructure.
GMR is the third largest private airport operator in the world in terms of passenger traffic. The airports operated by GMR are rated among the best-run airports in the world.
In the bidding conducted in November last year, the GMR-Megawide Consortium proposed to undertake the project, which entails renovating the existing passenger terminal building (PTB), building a new one to service international flights, and operating the airport, at a premium of P14.4 billion. This offer bested those of six other groups.
The Mactan airport project involves the construction of a new world-class international passenger terminal building, with a capacity of about 8 million passengers per year; renovation and expansion of the existing terminal; installation of all the required equipment; and the operation of both new and existing facilities.
After the new international terminal building is completed, the existing terminal, which currently caters to both domestic and international passengers, will be converted into an exclusively domestic passenger terminal.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is the second largest and busiest aviation facility in the country.
Last year, the DOTC published its bidding instructions on the Mactan-Cebu airport project under the public-private partnership scheme of the government.
“This project should have been done at least a decade ago, so there is no more time to waste. We have resolved all issues, we are ready to defend our decision, and it is now time to move forward on Daang Matuwid (The Straight Path—the slogan by the incumbent government) by delivering our services to the people,” DOTC Spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said.