The Pasay City government has given the go-signal to SM Land Inc. to proceed with the reclamation project that the Henry Sy-led firm proposed in the first place.
Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), which wanted to submit a counterproposal, expressed disappointment over the city government’s move.
“We confirm that we have been issued a notice of award and signed a JVA [joint venture agreement]with Pasay City. We wish to stress that we are committed to abide by all government laws, regulations and processes,” the SM Group said in a statement on Friday.
In a public notice in October, the Pasay City Public Private Partnership Selection Committee announced that SM Land submitted an unsolicited proposal regarding the reclamation project, offering to develop a 300-hectare property located in the western part of Pasay City for P54.5 billion.
According to the notice, SM Land offered to fully fund the development, including the costs of permits, clearances and other expenses for government and legal requirements.
Of the 300 hectares that will be reclaimed, 153 hectares would be allotted to the Pasay City government.
The project, which will be a joint venture between SM Land and Pasay City government, is targeted to be finished within seven years from the issuance of the notice to proceed.
Also last month, Pasay City administrator Dennis Bernard Acorda said in a notice of unsolicited proposal and invitation for competing proposals that interested parties are welcomed to submit counterproposals to SM Land’s proposal until October 4, which would have resulted in a Swiss Challenge.
ALI then expressed its interest to bid for the project, and asked the Pasay City government to extend the deadline for the submission of its counterproposal by 60 days.
However, ALI failed to get the approval.
Seeking a fair game
In an official statement released right after SM Group was proclaimed the winning bidder, ALI said it would have been more prudent for Pasay City to have taken time to study and address critical issues prior to the award, especially now that various groups have also expressed concerns on reclamation.
“It is unfortunate that Pasay City proceeded with the award despite numerous concerns expressed by various groups, particularly on the environmental impact of reclamation, and the questions we raised on the process that it followed,” said Bobby Dy, ALI chief operating officer.
ALI further said that its position is consistent with Executive Order 146, which states that all reclamation projects will be approved by the National Economic and Development Authority and “shall undergo competitive public bidding consistent with the government’s thrust to promote transparency and competitiveness.”
Besides ALI, GT Capital Holdings Inc. also expressed interest to bid for the reclamation project.