MANILA – The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) are set to discuss the price challenge of the management, operation and maintenance of the 94-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
“We invited all interested parties including the Manila North Tollways Corp. to the conference on January 6 to discuss the concerns on the SCTEX price challenge. To ensure the integrity of the process, there should be no communication other than the official channels,” BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Casanova said in a statement on Monday.
MNTC, through parent firm Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), was awarded the project during the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in, but the terms were left for future negotiation.
In 2011, a contract was signed and renegotiated under the current administration. This year, the government said the contract will be subjected to a price challenge.
MPIC, however, expressed opposition to the price challenge, saying it may take legal action if the terms of reference based on the business operating agreement (BOA) are violated.
Casanova said the BCDA agrees that the bidding process should be “transparent and fair,” adding “no one party should have undue advantage over the others by having a hand in the crafting of the terms of reference.”
“We at the BCDA have been observing the requirements in the BOA in good faith. The price challenge is consistent with the BOA because it is a consequence of the President’s approval which is a condition precedent to the effectivity of the BOA itself. The BCDA is confident of the legality of its position,” he said.
“We are pleased with MNTC’s keen interest in the undertaking because it only shows that SCTEX is a very profitable project that other parties will also find attractive,” he added.
Casanova also earlier said MPIC has no grounds to stop a price challenge contract because challengers will be bidding on exactly the same contract that the Pangilinan-led signed.