Department of Public Works and Highway secretary Rogelio Singson expressed uncertainty about the future of the government’s proposed Laguna Lakeshore expressway dike public-private partnership (PPP) project the last auction failed to attract bidders by deadline on Monday.
None of the three groups qualified to submit bids—Team Trident of Ayala Corp., SM Prime Holdings Inc., Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., and Megaworld Corp.; San Miguel Corp.; and Alloy-PAVI Hanshin LLED Consortium composed of Malaysia’s MTD Group, Prime Asset Venture Inc. of the Villar Group, Korean Hanshin Construction Corp. and Korea Rural Corp.—submitted their bids by the deadline on Tuesday, forcing the DPWH to terminate the project.
The DPWH head questioned whether the government should still ‘hit the ground running’ to award the contract through a restarted bidding process, suggesting that kick-starting the project before the Aquino Administration’s end in June may not be realistic.
Qualified bidders declined to submit bids for the P122.8 billion project that is supposed to provide a highway and dike to will facilitate traffic flow and control flooding along the Laguna Lake. Singson said that as a result, it might not be feasible to push for the awarding of the contract, which would require a new round of qualifying and bidding.
“It is such a big project. They might say it [the awarding]has been rushed,” Singson said in a phone interview.
Asked if it still possible to develop the project, which is among the PPP Center’s priority projects to be awarded by June, Singson said it is possible per se, but whether it should be awarded within the three-month time frame or not is the real question.
“It is possible if we are just talking about the possibility of it being awarded. But the question is, would we want it?” Singson said.
“For me personally, my opinion is it should not be awarded [by June],” he added
But Singson said his department still has to decide what should be done with the project, whether a rebid can be planned, or the whole thing put off until the new Administration assumes leadership.
The secretary said the DPWH would study what prompted the qualified bidders to withdraw from the bidding.
“They [the groups]are asking for a few things [regarding the project],” Singson said.
Should the project be put up for rebidding, Singson said the department will have to review guiding laws to determine if the three qualified bidders who backed out will still be eligible to join the bidding.
PPP chief Andre “Raj” Palacios said that the PPP Center would guide the DPWH through the next steps with regard to the terminated project.
Despite the termination of the PPP Center’s largest proposed project, Palacios is still hopeful that other PPP projects will be awarded by June.
“We are still hopeful other projects under procurement will still be awarded [by June],” Palacios said in a text message response to The Manila Times.
The PPP Center has targeted the award of at least ten infrastructure projects currently under the procurement stage, which included the DPWH’s Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike, to be awarded by the end of the Aquino administration in June.
“Hopefully we can complete the bidding and award of possibly ten to eleven projects,” Palacios told reporters in an earlier interview.
So far, fourteen PPP projects are under procurement: The now in limbo Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike, the Regional Prison Facilities project, Davao Sasa Port Modernization Project, New Bohol Airport, Laguindingan Airport Operations Maintenance and Development Project, Davao Airport Operations and Maintenance and Development Project, Bacolod Airport Operations and Maintenance and Development Project, Iloilo Airport Operations and Maintenance and Development Project, Road Transport Information Technology Infrastructure Project, Civil Registry System Information technology, New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, North-South Railway Project (South Line) and the LRT Line 6 Project.
The total indicative cost for the projects is P555.56 billion.
Under the Aquino Administration 12 PPP projects have been awarded amounting to almost P200 billion. Awarded projects include Daang Hari SLEX Link, Cavite-Laguna Expressway, South Integrated Transport System, and NAIA Expressway Phase II Project.