Submission of bids for Mla Bay Reclamation Project Pasay City rejects ALI request to extend deadline

Lawrence Agcaoili, Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) - November 1, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Pasay City has thumbed down the request of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) for a 60-day extension of the bid submission deadline for the right to reclaim a 300-hectare area in Manila Bay.

“Much to our regret, we cannot grant your request for extension of time to submit counter-proposal without exposing ourselves to charges of violating or bending the rules to favor your company,” said Severino C. Madrona Jr., vice chairman of Pasay’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Selection Committee in a letter to ALI dated Oct. 29.

He said the invitations for counter-proposals were published in newspapers on Oct. 1, Oct. 8 and Oct. 15.

“As pointed by SM Land Inc. in its comment, we cannot just change the rules midstream to favor a party,” Madrona said.

Late in September, mall and banking conglomerate SM Investments Corp., through SM Land, made an unsolicited proposal to the Pasay City government to reclaim a 300-hectare property along Manila Bay in the next seven years for P54.5 billion.

The Sy-led firm offered to fully finance the project including the costs of all necessary permits and clearances from government agencies as well as other expenses to comply with all government and legal requirements.

ALI, for its part, said it is still weighing its options ahead of the Nov. 4 deadline for the project, which will pit the Ayala Group against the SM Group of the Philippines’ richest man Henry Sy.

“We feel that 30 calendar days is not enough time for us to be able to develop a well thought of plan of reclamation development,” ALI chief operating officer Bernard Vincent Dy said in a briefing.

“We are quite surprised and disappointed with this development,” Dy said, adding that PPP projects earlier rolled out by the government were subject to delays to encourage more bidders. The government also granted proponents’ request for more time to complete their studies and prepare their bids.

ALI just bought its bid documents yesterday following clarification from the Pasay City PPP committee that the documents are worth P150,000 and not P5 million.

“We’ve not done anything. The reason being is we don’t have copy of the terms of reference up until (Thursday) morning,” Dy said.

“To be able to submit something within five days with all the required technical studies would be extremely difficult to do,” Dy said.

The property firm is still deliberating its next moves, which might include seeking a court-issued temporary restraining order or Pasay City’s reconsideration.

“We are open to all options, we are reviewing all options at this point,” Dy said.

ALI is currently in talks with a European engineering firm with a track record for land reclamation.

The bidding terms required proponents to have a minimum net worth of P50 billion by the time of the auction. Interested parties should have also undertaken and completed a similar reclamation project in an area not less than 120 hectares preferably within the Manila Bay area.

SM Land, in its letter to Pasay City PPP committee, said that in 1994, it entered into a joint venture with the Public Estates Authority (now Philippine Reclamation Authority) for the reclamation and development of a 141-hectare property known as Central Business Part 1 Island A, which is now the site of the Mall of Asia complex.

Asked about a potential partnership deal, Dy said: “We were known to have a lot of partnerships. Part of our development strategy is to partner with different people.”

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