PPP: Bundling of airport projects under PPP finalized

The government has finalized the grouping of P108.9 billion worth of contracts to develop, operate and maintain (O&M) five regional airports under the public-private partnership (PPP) program of the government, as well as the bidder requirements and timetable for the projects.

According to the PPP Center, contract award will be in March 2016 and signing of concession agreements will happen the following month, making it one of the last few PPP projects expected to be awarded under the administration of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III, whose term ends on June 30 next year.

The Instruction to Prospective Bidders (ITPB) published by the PPP Center last March 10 left out the P5.81-billion Puerto Princesa O&M and Development Project, which initially formed part of the airport PPP package in an invitation to pre-qualify and bid published in December last year by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

In a statement, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) spokesperson Michael Arthur C. Sagcal said that his department “now finds it feasible to bid out Puerto Princesa’s O&M separately form the other five airports because of the tourism development in that area.”

He said the Puerto Princesa Airport project may be bundled together into a comprehensive tourism airport-centric strategy for Palawan airports, such as Busuanga and San Vicente, which will be completed in around three months. 

The five left regional airports are now grouped into:

·  P20.26-billion Bacolod-Silay Airport and P30.40-billion Iloilo Airport as Bundle 1; as well as
·  P2.34-billion New Bohol (Panglao) Airport, P14.62-billion Laguindingan Airport and P40.57-billion Davao Airport as Bundle 2.

According to Mr. Sagcal, the bundling was based on the annual passenger volume of about four million. 

“We just removed Puerto Princesa because we see a more strategic grouping for that along with Busuanga and San Vicente,” he explained. 

A pre-qualification conference has been set on April 7 to discuss concerns of prospective bidders.

The ITPB also marks May 18 as the deadline for submission of qualification documents. 

“The shortlist of qualified bidders will also be released in May,” he said, adding that while they do not have an indicative date for the actual bid submission yet, they are looking to award the airport projects by March 2016.

“Qualified bidders can bid for just one bundle or both bundles, depending on their appetite,” he said.

The bidding has attracted the interest of at least five investors: Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.; Megawide Construction Corp.; Ayala Corp.; Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and MTD Philippines, Inc.