2 Chinese firms once debarred by World Bank eye Clark airport terminal project


Posted at Aug 22 2017 09:31 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2017 08:06 PM

MANILA - Chinese companies, including two previously slapped sanctions by the World Bank, joined local firms eyeing the construction of the new passenger terminal building of the Clark International Airport on Tuesday. 

Companies that have bought bid documents for the P12.55-billion project are: 

- Tokwing Construction Corp.; 
- China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd.; 
- China State Construction Engineering Corp.; 
- Qingjian Group; 
- R-II Builders; 
- a joint venture between Megawide and GMR; and, 
- a joint venture between Datem and First Balfour, which is part of the Lopez Group of companies that includes ABS-CBN Corp. 

In its 2009 Annual Report, the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency had identified China State Construction Engineering as among several firms that allegedly engaged in fraudulent, corrupt or collusive practices and debarred it for 6 years. 

China Harbour Engineering, meanwhile, is a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Ltd. which, along with all its subsidiaries, were debarred by the World Bank from 2011 to January 2017 for alleged fraudulent practices, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), meanwhile, said that while the firms were allowed to buy the bid documents, they would be subjected to strict screening. 

"Anybody can buy the bid documents but they will all be subject to the strict procurement qualification rules and regulations and will be evaluated based on the eligibility requirements as stated in the Instruction to Bidders, based on the highest international standards as advised by IFC-World Bank, BCDA's transaction adviser for the Clark International Airport Expansion Project," the BCDA said in a text message. 

"A firm is not qualified to join the bidding if it is in the debarment list during the tender process," the agency added.

The government has set an Oct. 22, 2017 deadline for the purchase of the bid documents, with the winning bidder announced by the end of November and groundbreaking set in December. 

The new terminal is expected to start operations in the first quarter of 2020.

The Clark International Airport has been in the government's pipeline for more than two decades now as part of efforts to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. It is a key part of the Duterte administration's infrastructure agenda.

The airport will be constructed alongside the proposed railway to Clark, which is expected to be operational by 2021. -- with a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News