DOTC to fasttrack P82-B infra projects

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 29 2013 07:33 AM | Updated as of Apr 29 2013 10:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is confident that majority of the infrastructure projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) program would be completed within the term of President Aquino.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the government is now at the “catch-up” point but is optimistic that the DOTC would be able to complete major infrastructure projects with a combined value of about P82 billion before the end of the President’s term in 2016.

“The PPP program of this administration, in particular, took some time to get rolling. PPP is something that’s still new for all of us, and as with all things unfamiliar, we approached it with the necessary prudence,” Abaya stressed.

For this year alone, the DOTC chief said the agency is set to award at least three PPP contracts including the P30.9 billion extension of the Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT1) all the way to Niog in Bacoor, Cavite from Baclaran in Pasay City, the first phase of the P17.5 billion Mactan-Cebu international airport expansion project worth P8.9 billion, and the P1.72 billion automated fare collection system (AFCS).

“That’s just for this year. In the next few years, we will be commencing bidding for our other projects that are still either in the study or engineering design phase as of the moment,” he added.

These projects include the P9.8 billion extension of the LRT2 all the way to Masinag in Antipolo, the expansion of the Davao-Sasa port, the central spine roll-on roll-off (RORO) project as well as the operation and maintenance of the airports in Puerto Princesa, Bohol-Panglao, and Laguindingan.

“Not all, but what I’ve mentioned yes. Majority will be,” he replied when asked if the projects would be completed within the term of President Aquino.

Projects to be completed include the AFCS project that would provide a single-ticket system for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and LRT, the connector road being built by diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. and infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. to connect the North and South Luzon expressways, and the proposed extension of the LRT1 to Cavite.

Abaya said the DOTC would continue to make it a priority to draw as much competition as possible as having multiple bidders for a project is necessary to get the best deal possible for the government.

He pointed out that the Aquino administration has learned the lessons from the previous administrations wherein unsolicited proposals were accepted instead of bidding out projects to prospective investors.

“Beyond having clean and honest biddings, we are also concerned with making sure that our project contracts are fair, clear, and reliable. The Philippines has an unfortunate history of either reneging on its obligations or falling on the losing end of a bad deal,” Abaya said.

He cited that a total of nine groups submitted qualification documents for the AFCS project while seven groups beat the deadline for the submission of qualification documents for the Mactan-Cebu international airport expansion project.