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DOTC urged to rethink Mactan airport bid rules

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will likely revisit its decision preventing companies with airline interests from bidding for the multi-billion-peso contract to develop the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, a ranking government official said.

The official said some members of the government’s economic team have urged the DOTC to review the decision because it would discourage foreign airport investors from participating in the project.

The government has been trying to attract foreign investors into its Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects, including the Changi Airport Group of Singapore.

Local airlines such as Cebu Pacific of the Gokongwei Group have flights between Mactan, Cebu and Singapore.

“We are trying to attract foreign investors and this decision will not help in that,” said the government official.

However, the DOTC has yet to make an announcement on whether or not it would review its decision.

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Local airline operators are appealing the DOTC’s decision, which remained in effect as of last week.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya has been quoted as saying that disqualifying airline groups from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport project aimed to eliminate all possible conflicts of interest.

The Gokongwei Group and Philippine Airlines (PAL) led by Ramon Ang are disqualified from bidding in the P16-billion project.

The operator of the Godofredo P. Ramos airport in Caticlan is also disqualified from bidding in the project.

With the DOTC ruling, the prospective bidders have narrowed down to a few including the partnership between Ayala Corp. and the Cebu-based Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

The project aims to expand the existing Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which is the country’s second-biggest air passenger facility.

The airport had more than 4.74 million domestic passengers and 1.47 million international passengers in 2011 but the volume of travelers using the airport has been growing steadily over the last five years.

The DOTC has set the pre-bidding for the project on Jan. 28 while the awarding of the contract is targeted for September.

 

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