The Department of Transportation revisits regional airports plan
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - February 18, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr), which has started the conduct of new feasibility studies for the regional airports in Davao, Iloilo, Laguindingan and Bacolod, is planning to pursue the projects via government funding or official development assistance (ODA), and bid out the operations and maintenance of the airports individually rather than as one bundle.

Manuel Antonio Tamayo, undersecretary for the aviation sector at the DOTr, told reporters the government is working on new feasibility studies for the regional airports.

“We are doing again the feasibility studies for the regional airports because the previous feasibility studies are more than five years. So, we have to review it, update it and so on and then, it will be funded through GAA (General Appropriations Act) or ODA,” Tamayo said.

He said the government also intends to bid out the operations and maintenance of the four airports separately and not as one package.

“It would be hard if there is a monopoly. What is one company gets all of it?,” he said.

During the previous administration, the development, as well as operations and maintenance of the four regional airports along with the New Bohol (Panglao) Airport were offered for bidding as a public-private partnership (PPP) project.

Under the PPP scheme, the airports were offered in bundles with Bundle 1 composed of the Iloilo Airport and Bacolod-Silay Airport, and Bundle 2 covering the Davao Airport, New Bohol (Panglao) Airport and the Laguindingan Airport.

Groups pre-qualified by the previous administration to bid for the regional airports PPP are the Philippine Airports Consortium, Maya Consortium, GMR-Megawide Consortium, San Miguel Holdings Corp.-Incheon International Airport Corp. Consortium, and Filinvest-JATCO-Sojitz Consortium.

In November 2016, the National Economic and Development Authority Board approved the DOTr’s proposal to unbundle the airport projects, saying this would pave the way for faster selection and award of the projects.

In May last year, the government terminated the auction process to pursue the development of the airports using funds from the government or through ODA.

Karim Garcia, vice president for business development of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. which was part of the Philippine Airports Consortium, told reporters the infrastructure conglomerate is hopeful the regional airports would be offered as one bundle, should government decide to offer it for bidding again.

“I am hoping it will be one super bundle, one bundle covering all the airports. It is more attractive. It will allow the concessionaire to provide a more cost effective airport operation that can be passed on to the user with lower terminal fee,” he said.

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