• PPP optimism dashed by delays, cancellation

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    Agency head would settle for award of regional airports project by June 30

    A little more than a month into the job, Public-Private Partnership Project Center (PPP) chief Andre “Raj” Palacios seems to be less optimistic and more realistic with the agency’s targets, said it will most likely only award the P108 billion Regional Airports project by the time a new Administration takes office at the end of June.

    When Palacios assumed leadership of the PPP Center in March, he expressed confidence 11 projects would be awarded before President BS Aquino 3rd stepped down on June 30, but after several delayed and one terminated project the PPP chief admitted in a recent interview that he would be satisfied to award just the Department of Transportation and Communications’ (DOTC) Five Regional Airports project.

    “The five regional airports are the most ripe,” for bidding out and awarding, Palacios told reporters in a spot interview last week.

    He said he sees hope in this project because the bidders are enthusiastic about the project’s bidding and have even formally expressed their strong interest in seeing the process move ahead in writing.

    The bidders have expressed their commitment to the project… They have been talking to us,” Palacios said.

    The development and operation and management (O&M) of the regional airports will be bid out in two bundles. Bundle one includes the P20.26 Billion Bacolod-Silay Airport Project and the P30.40 billion Iloilo Airport Project.

    The second bundle includes the P40.57 billion Davao Airport Project, the P14.62 billion Laguindingan Airport Project, and the P2.34 Billion New Bohol Airport Project.

    Under the contract the winning concessionaire for each bundle will undertake expansion of facilities, as most of the airports are operating beyond their design capacity, and will handle the O&M of the airports for thirty years.

    These improvements are needed in order to enhance passenger safety and convenience as well as to ensure more efficient airport operations.

    The pre-qualified bidders for the two project bundles are GMR-Megawide, Metro-Pacific-JG Summit Consortium, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, San Miguel Corp., Philippine Skylanders Inc., and Union Equities.

    No bid date yet

    The PPP Center is working together with the DOTC, the project’s implementing agency, to have the project successfully awarded within Aquino’s term. However, Palacios said there are no definite dates yet as to when the bid submission will be.

    The original bid submission date of February 29 was postponed, with the bid rescheduled for “30 calendar days from the issuance of the final concession agreement,” according to the PPP memorandum.

    “I don’t have any dates,” for the bid, Palacios told reporters. “I need to speak to DOTC.”
    “Bid submission should have happened in March. We are hoping. If we do the bid submission we are hoping end April of early May we might make it,” by the June 30 deadline, Palacios explained.

    Palacios said with the bidders’ commitment expressed the project will not end up like the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) Laguna Lakeshore project which was terminated because the bidders did not submit their bids.

    Along with the five regional airports project Palacios mentioned three other projects that he would hope to see awarded before the administration ends: LRT2 Maintenance and Operation, Davao Sasa Seaport, and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) IT Roadmap projects.

    Palacios stressed the contracts, if they were fortunately awarded, would not be ‘midnight deals’ but delayed procurements.

    “Remember, these are not midnight contracts, if anything, these are delayed procurements. The projects were approved as early as 2013. Procurement began 2014, bidding a year ago. We are actually delayed in the procurement timeline,” Palacios explained.

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