Gokongwei, Ang to appeal DOTC decision on Cebu airport bidding

by Kathleen A. Martin, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 17 2013 04:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2013 05:33 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and San Miguel Corp. will be seeking for reconsideration after the Transportation department decided to bar airline owners from joining the bidding for the P17-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport project.

Lance Y. Gokongwei, president of JG Summit Holdings, explained there have been cases abroad wherein an airport operator is also an airline owner.

"We will seek reconsideration... We've seen abroad that you can operate a successful airport and airline without any conflict of interest," Gokongwei told reporters on Thursday.

The Transportation department has prohibited airline owners such as JG Summit Holdings (owner of Cebu Pacific) and diversified San Miguel Corp. (which has a controlling stake at Philippine Airlines) from joining the bidding for the Mactan-Cebu airport project.

San Miguel is also looking to appeal the DOTC's policy decision. “SMC will appeal,” SMC president and CEO Ramon Ang said in a text message to reporters.  

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the move was to prevent any conflicts of interest that may arise while the firm is operating the airport. This may come in the form of favors to the firm's airline over other carriers utilizing the airport, he explained.

Gokongwei, while declining to share what his firm's argument is for the appeal, stressed JG Summit Holdings is aiming to invest in Philippine infrastructure to contribute to the country's growth.

"For JG Summit, first and foremost is we want to invest in the Philippines, invest in the infrastructure," Gokongwei said.

"And we believe we have the right set of skills for that," he continued.

Gokongwei, however, did not say when the firm plans to submit an appeal to the DOTC.

The pre-qualification conference for the Mactan-Cebu airport is already set for Jan. 28, and interested investors should submit qualification documents by Feb. 28.

Those who pre-qualify will be required to submit technical and financial proposals on Aug. 2, as the Notice of Award is expected to be given to the winner on Sept. 17.

Manuel V. Pangilinan's Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and the Ayala and Aboitiz groups are among the firms that have already expressed interest in joining the bidding for the airport project.

The Mactan-Cebu airport is the country's second largest international gateway, next to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.