MANILA - The government may undertake the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport itself following failed bids from the private sector, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said on Tuesday.
"There was a private offer to do it. We said these are the rules, we want to reduce our contingent liability. It took them 2 years to look at it, then they said because of COVID they don't want it anymore," Dominguez said during an online forum.
The Finance chief was referring to the bid by the so-called NAIA super consortium, composed of the country's biggest conglomerates, which was granted original proponent status in 2018 to upgrade the county's main gateway.
"Another group came, but the law requires a certain level of capital which they did not have," Dominguez continued.
He was referring to the Megawide-GMR bid to rehab the airport, which was turned down by the government over concerns that the Filipino-Indian consortium did not have the capital for the project.
"Make up your mind. If you want it, do it. If you don't, NAIA will do it on its own. It may not be as good as the private sector's plans, but those plans cannot be implemented anyway.”
The cost of the NAIA rehab was quoted at P350B by the Super Consortium and P108.75B by Megawide.
Dominguez also criticized public-private partnerships (PPPS) for what he said was the slow roll out of projects under these arrangements.
PPPs are seen as a means of government and private sector cooperation to quicken the pace of investment in and development of projects such as large-scale transport infrastructure.
Dominguez however saID PPPs may actually end up costing the Philippine government more than they are worth.
"We don't have the final numbers of our liability on PPP, but I know they are pretty huge.”
At the start of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Dominguez and his fellow economic managers focused on infrastructure development using grants and loans from international and multilateral partners.
PPP was only taken on later, after some projects, specifically with China, stalled.