Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is reconsidering its plan to join a consortium that will rehabilitate and operate the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport over unresolved issues with the government, its chairman said over the weekend.
“It’s gonna be a tough one. Tough one for us to join. We are thinking about it [to pull out from the consortium],” MPIC chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.
The P102-billion NAIA rehabilitation project was proposed by NAIA Consortium that includes MPIC, Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Filinvest Development Corp. and JG Summit Holdings Inc.
Pangilinan said MPIC would make a decision “soon” whether it would still join or withdraw from the consortium.
“It’s unfair for us to get the consortium to wait for us. They have the right to ask are you in or out? So, why don’t you … or get off the pot. So, maybe get off the pot, maybe,” he said.
Pangilinan made the statement came after the Transportation Department set a deadline this month to resolve pending issues about the project.
Transportation Undersecretary for Planning Ruben Reinoso earlier said some pending issues needed to be resolved with NAIA Consortium, including the retrenchment of the employees of Manila International Airport Authority and the real property tax.
NAIA Consortium received the go-signal from the National Economic and Development Authority board to proceed with the NAIA rehabilitation project, subject to a Swiss challenge.
Swiss Challenge, a form of procurement, is usually required for an unsolicited project, where other parties are given an opportunity to challenge the bid of the proponent.
Prior to the Swiss challenge, MIAA, as the primary grantor, and NAIA Consortium should negotiate the terms and conditions of the concession agreement based on the parameters prescribed by the NEDA board.
MIAA will then submit the results of the negotiation to the NEDA board and the negotiated draft concession agreement to the Office of the Solicitor General and the Department of Finance for comments within 10 days.
The project aims to alleviate the worsening air traffic congestion at NAIA and resolve capacity constraints by reconfiguring and renovating facilities and enhancing operation and maintenance. This will allow for the accommodation of more traffic.
The rehabilitation project also aims to broaden NAIA’s role as a key economic and tourism driver for Metro Manila and the whole Philippines, deliver capital infrastructure investment to improve the airport’s efficiency and increase its capacity to meet the growing passenger demand from the Philippines and the Asia Pacific region.
It will also deliver the best-in-class passenger experience as a capital city airport, which is demanded by increasingly sophisticated travelers and create a positive first and last impression for Filipinos and visitors.
The NAIA rehabilitation project is supposed to be implemented in three phases from 2021 to 2024.