DOTC looks into questions about Megawide-GMR's capability

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 04 2014 09:21 AM | Updated as of Jan 04 2014 05:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is looking into questions about the capability of the consortium of Filipino-owned Megawide Construction Corp. and Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. to undertake the P17.5-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) expansion project.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a text message that the agency is looking into allegations made by the Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC) of taipan Andrew Gotianun that the unsatisfactory performance record, financial woes, and questionable long-term commitment of GMR would put at risk the “rare opportunity” of creating a world-class airport.

“We are looking into the issues raised by Filinvest,” Abaya said in a text message to The STAR.

The GMR Infrastructure of India – Megawide consortium submitted the highest bid of P14.404 billion for the project last Dec. 12 followed by the Filinvest – CAI Consortium with P13.999 billion, and Premier Airport Group of SM Group of retail magnate Henry Sy with P12.5 billion.

The MPIC-JGS Airport consortium led by infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan and JG Summit Holdings of taipan John Gokongwei submitted a bid of P11.23 billion while AAA Airport Partners led by the conglomerate Ayala Group and Cebu-based Aboitiz Land forwarded a bid of P11.088 billion.

The San Miguel Corp.-Incheon Airport consortium submitted a bid of P9.05 billion while the Lopez groups’ First Philippine Airports submitted the lowest bid of P4.7 billion.

The DOTC is scheduled to issue a Notice of Award on Jan. 6 and sign a contract with the winning group on Feb. 6. for the expansion of the country’s second largest airport after the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The project would modernize the country’s second-largest aviation hub with the construction of a new world-class international passenger terminal building with an annual capacity of eight million passengers and at the same time expand the existing terminal building with a capacity of 4.5 million and has been operating at over-capacity with 6.7 million passengers since 2012.

In a letter to the DOTC’s Pre-qualification, Bids and Awards Committee, FDC said it “could not remain silent after it had obtained publicly available information concerning the members of the consortium that submitted the highest financial proposal, particularly in relation to their capacity to realize this project.”

FDC is contesting the award of the public-private partnership (PPP) to the Megawide-GMR consortium given several issues hounding the Indian firm including the cancellation of its Nasir International Airport project by the Maldives government in December 2012.