The super consortium vs the Megawide consortium
EYES WIDE OPEN - Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - February 22, 2018 - 12:00am

The minute our hulking Triple 7 touched down at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s runway, I imagined the usual chaos at NAIA Terminal 3. 

This was last week when I came back from an assignment in London, a 15-hour flight via Dubai.  I was hoping there would be no snaking lines, but I also knew this was almost impossible. 

So it was such a pleasant surprise when I had a seamless experience at Terminal 3, practically breezing through immigration and the baggage claim area. I was out in no time and was standing at the bay area long before my ride arrived.

An airport experience must be like that ­– seamless and almost a breeze – providing a pleasant welcome to a foreigner and giving familiar comfort to a returning resident.

I hope that whoever wins in the bid to redevelop NAIA would really be able to improve the whole airport. We’ve been enduring the dilapidated facilities and worsening congestion for some time now.

The super consortium of seven conglomerates last week formalized its P350-billion offer to rehabilitate, expand, operate and maintain NAIA for 35 years.  

The seven partners ­ Aboitiz InfraCapital Incorporated, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Alliance Global Group Incorporated, Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings Incorporated, and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation -- have a combined capitalization of over P2.2 trillion. 

The consortium also teamed up with Singapore’s Changi Airports International Private Limited to provide technical support in the areas of master planning, operations optimization, and commercial development.
There will be new runways and bigger terminals.

It sounds like a good plan and the excitement is almost tangible.

But I hope there will be no bickering. Otherwise, all the excitement will just vanish in to thin air.

The super consortium will have to compete with another group, the consortium of Megawide Construction Corp. and state-owned Social Security System (SSS).

Megawide, although relatively small compared to the super consortium, is not to be underestimated. It already has the experience after turning around the Mactan-Cebu International Airport from just a regular provincial airport into an internationally recognized and awarded gateway. 

But it’s going to be a tough battle for Megawide. After all, they will have to compete with giants. In 2014, when they won the contract to improve and operate the Mactan-Cebu airport, they were even brought to court.

Industry sources even speculate that the non-renewal of the appointments of SSS chairman Amado Valdez and commissioner Jose Gabriel La Viña had everything to do with the Megawide-SSS consortium’s NAIA bid. 

Malacañang’s announcement, after all, came just a month after the consortium announced its plan to vie for NAIA.

I hope these are all just speculation and that the fight will be fair. 

SSS insiders, nonetheless, confirmed that one SSS commissioner supposedly did not agree with the move of the Valdez-led board to partner with Megawide.  

Any bickering in the end won’t do any of the stakeholders any good. And the Filipino people will be the real losers.

 As I said before, I hope that whoever wins the NAIA contract will really transform the airport into a world-class gateway that Filipinos long deserve to have.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Cebu Pacific

Speaking of NAIA 3, I’m wonder too how Gokongwei-led Cebu Pacific can vacate NAIA 3 in 45 days. I once moved house and aside from dealing with a whirlwind of emotions that goes with moving from one place to another, I could not even finish all the packing and unpacking in a month.

I don’t understand all the bullying that Cebu Pacific president and CEO Lance Gokongwei got from Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. I can understand the points raised but I don’t quite understand all the bullying. Was that really necessary? Unfortunately, it’s becoming too common nowadays among people in power.

Lucio Tan Jr. warns against Lucio Tan Jr.

Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr. warns there is an unscrupulous individual, possibly a member of a syndicate, who has been using his name to buy expensive cars and to get credit lines in casinos for more than a year now.

Setting the record straight, once and for all, the real Lucio Tan Jr. said he does not even set foot in casinos in the country. 

He also said that he is not the type who would use his name to get expensive cars and other luxury goods.

Thus, he warns his fellow tycoons and owners of business establishments and car companies against his impostor. 

He urged them to verify first with common friends whether he is indeed behind a certain transaction. He also said it is better to sit down with him in case his name is used to purchase a big-ticket item. 

“But lines for casinos are definitely out. I also do not, and will not, ask lines for friends or other people for casino purposes,” he said.

The impostor uses a Globe prepaid number. In contrast, Bong said he uses a Globe postpaid number. He noted that some prepaid numbers also start with 0917.

Some people who have encountered the fake Bong Tan said he “sounds” like the real one.

But Bong said that to those who really know him know this is impossible.

“The only person who sounds like me is my dad,” said Bong.

Iris Gonzales’ e-mail address is eyesgonzales@gmail.com

AIRPORT REHABILITATION NINOY AQUINO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
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