Court cases won't affect foreign interest in PPP - gov't

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 08 2014 10:03 AM | Updated as of Feb 08 2014 06:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration believes the slew of court cases filed by disqualified and losing bidders of major infrastructure projects would not affect the interest of foreign and local investors in the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program.

PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said in a press conference that the ability of the government to hurdle court cases filed by disgruntled bidders would entice investors to join the bidding for major infrastructure projects

“They are closely monitoring all the developments of PPP projects. They want the process in the system tested. If we award, it will give them comfort that there is clear path,” Canilao said.

The PPP Center chief made the statement after cases were filed before the Supreme Court and regular courts as well as motions for reconsideration against proponents of major infrastructure projects.

A petition was filed before the Supreme Court (SC) early this week seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the privatization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC).

Canilao was quick to clarify that the P5.7 billion PPP project awarded to Megawide Construction Corp. – World Citi consortium involves the modernization of the facility to a 700-bed capacity super-specialty tertiary orthopedic hospital.

The concessionaire will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the facility until the end of the concession period, and then transfer the hospital to the Department of Health (DOH).

“The project will serve as an opportunity for the poorest of the poor to experience quality care medical services and we’ll start it with the modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center. I just don’t understand why some sectors are against the project. I don’t think they know what they are talking about,” she lamented.

On the other hand, Canilao said the SM Group said it would not file a court case seeking to block the P1.72-billion Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) that was recently awarded to the AF Consortium led by conglomerate Ayala Corp. and infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

“I am glad that based on the spokesperson’s (of SM) statements, they will not file any legal action. We have bidding rules and we cannot change after they submitted the bids,” she clarified.

The AF Consortium submitted a negative bid of P1,088,103,900 for the project last December edging the negative P1,088,000,000 bid of the SM Consortium of retail magnate Henry Sy. On the other hand, the Comworks-Berjaya Consortium submitted a bid of P2,050,090,300. Tthe E-Trans Solutions Joint Venture Inc. and Megawide-Suyen-Eurolink Consortium failed to hurdle the agency’s technical evaluation.

Canilao also revealed that the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to make an award for the P17.5 billion Mactan Cebu international airport expansion program soon.

“The BAC is really being very careful in assessing all the angles in that one. We need to exercise due diligence in really checking and counter check the issues raised. We know that we have to make the decision and award it soon, and were nearly done with that,” she added.

The Megawide-GMR tandem submitted the highest bid of P14.4 billion for the project last Dec. 12 followed by the Filinvest – Changi Airport 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) and JG Summit Holdings 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.