THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) went ahead with the prequalification of bidders on Monday for the development and operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts for five regional airports despite a restraining order issued by a Davao Regional Trial Court.
According to the DOTC, the contracts offered are part of the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program.
“The prequalification submission for the regional airports PPP bid of the DOTC, we would like to announce that we just received a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Regional Trial Court of Davao, but just to remain transparent to our bidders, our transaction counsel, Louie Ogsimer, will explain what the TRO is saying,” Rene K. Limcaoco, undersecretary for planning and infrastructure projects of the DOTC, said during the submission of prequalification documents yesterday.
The DOTC said that on or before the1 p.m. deadline on August 17, the six consortiums that submitted their documents were Philippine Airport Consortium; Union Equities-ACSA consortium; SMHC-IIAC (Incheon International Airport Consortium) Airport Corp.; Filinvest Jatco-Sojitz Consortium; GMR Infrastructure; and Megawide Consortium.
Commenting on the TRO against the bidding of the airport projects, Attorney Ogsimer explained, “The DOTC received today [Monday] a TRO which was issued on August 12, 2015. It’s a 72-hour expired TRO, issued by the executive judge of the RTC of Davao City. It was sent to the DOTC only today [Monday].”
Ogsimer noted that under Philippine laws and procedure, a regional trial court can only issue an injunction or TRO within its judicial region, which means that the Davao RTC can only restrain acts which are being done within the judicial region of Davao.
He said that obviously, all the acts that were done and are being done in connection with the bidding of the projects are within Metro Manila, which is out of the court’s territorial jurisdiction.
He also pointed out that Republic Act 8975 expressly prohibits the issuance of any injunction or TRO against government infrastructure projects.
Further, he said that since the 72-hour TRO was issued last August 12 yet, it had already lapsed by the time the submission of prequalification documents was held Monday.
Because of this, “the BAC decided to proceed with the bids qualification process,” Ogsimer said.
Regional airport projects
The DOTC said the development and O&M contracts for the regional airports will be bid out in two bundles.
Bundle 1 consists of the P20.26 billion Bacolod-Silay Airport Project, P30.40 billion Iloilo Airport Project, while Bundle 2 consists of the P40.57 billion Davao Airport Project; P14.62 billion Laguindingan Airport Project and the P2.34 billion New Bohol Airport Project.
The winning concessionaires for each bundle will handle the O&M of the airports for 30 years and will undertake expansion of facilities, as most of the airports are operating beyond their design capacity.
These improvements are needed in order to enhance passenger safety and convenience as well as to ensure more efficient airport operations, the DOTC said.
The opening of bids is scheduled in January 2016, while award will follow in February.
For the Bacolod-Silay Airport, the project covers the expansion of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB), which will boost its capacity to about 3.1 million passengers annually.
For the Iloilo Airport, the expansion project will allow it to accommodate up to 4.5 million passengers annually. Other upgrades include the expansion of the car park and the construction of a full parallel taxiway.
The expansion project for Francisco Bangoy (Davao) Airport will increase the airport’s annual passenger capacity to 6.7 million.
For the Laguindingan Airport, expansion of the PTB will boost annual passenger capacity to 4.3 million. The winning concessionaire will take charge of installing airport equipment at par with international standards.
The New Bohol (Panglao) Airport will replace the existing terminal in Tagbilaran City, which is currently the eleventh busiest airport in the country. It caters to around 789,800 passengers in 2013 despite its size of only 850 square meters.
The new, eco-friendly airport is currently being constructed by winning bidder Mitsubishi-Chiyoda joint venture and should to be completed in 2017. It can accommodate up to 1.7 million passengers annually.