SMC's Ang calls for 'level playing field' in CALAX bid

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jun 10 2014 05:42 PM | Updated as of Jun 11 2014 01:42 AM

DPWH to decide on Wednesday

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president Ramon Ang is calling for a "level playing field" in the bidding of public-private partnership (PPP) projects, particularly in the proposed Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project.

Ang decried the tactics of the project’s other bidders, which he said were raising issues that seek to disqualify SMC on mere technicalities.

“Natatakot ba sila amin? Bakit ayaw nalang nila buksan ‘yung bid ng makita nila…Kung mataas ang bid, that’s advantageous to the government and to the people,” Ang said in a press conference after SMC’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Tuesday.

“They should bid more, so they don’t have to worry,” he added.

The three pre-qualified bidders in the project questioned the bid proposal of SMC’s infrastructure arm Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. on the validity of its bid security, and the packaging of SMC’s proposal.

Malaysia’s Alloy MTD Philippines; Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz group’s Team Orion; and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s (MPIC) MPCALA Holdings Inc. objected to SMC's bid with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Ang defended SMC's bid, saying it is fully compliant with bidding rules.

A letter of clarification and additional documents have been forwarded by SMC to the DPWH to prove compliance.

The DPWH said it will decide on Wednesday if SMC’s bid proposal is indeed valid.

SMC is involved in other PPP projects, including developing a new section of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), the Skyway extension, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) expressway.

Ang said the TPLEx extension to La Union will be completed by December 2015, 3 years ahead of schedule.

The Skyway extension and the NAIA expressway, on the other hand, will be completed before the end of 2016.

SMC offered an upfront cash payment of P11 billion for the P15 billion NAIA expressway. The second highest bidder, MPIC, offered P350 million.

SMC was unsuccessful in its bid for the P17.5 billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which was eventually awarded to Megawide Construction Corp. and India’s GMR Infrastructure in April.

Ang noted that SMC could have submitted a higher bid if not for the foreign partnership restriction.

He said government should further relax restrictions in PPP projects and allow all parties to submit a bid.

“Dapat sa Pilipinas wala ng mga ganoon. Dapat gumawa tayo ng maraming project para gumanda ang takbo ng Pilipinas, imbes na maghilahan pa. Kokonti nalang tayo gagana pa ba ang crab mentality?” he said.