MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines launched on Wednesday an auction for an estimated P1.6 billion ($37 million) toll road project, the first of priority infrastructure deals worth $1 billion to be offered to investors under the government's public-private partnership (PPP) program.
The PPP program is the centerpiece of the one-year-old Aquino administration's development goals.
The government's original plan was to start bidding out projects in March, but later said it wanted to undertake feasibility studies to ensure success of auctions to local and foreign investors.
The Department of Public Works and Highways said in a notice published in a local daily that it was seeking bids to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the Daang Hari-SLEX toll road that will link southern Cavite province to the South Luzon Expressway, one of two major gateways to the capital.
Prospective bidders have until September 19 to submit requirements for prequalification.
Several big local firms such as San Miguel Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Ayala Corporation and JG Summit Holdings have expressed interest to participate in the auctions aimed at building more roads, airports and railways and upgrading existing ones.
Early this month, the government deferred a bidding for state contracts worth P14 billion to operate and maintain two rail systems in Metro Manila -- Light Rail Transit 1 and Metro Rail Transit 3 -- as the newly-appointed Transportation secretary wanted to review the contracts.