Privatization of Bohol, Davao airports seen progressing

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - May 12, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The privatization of the Davao International Airport and the Bohol-Panglao International Airport are seen making significant progress this year while that of   the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has been put on hold, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

According to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, he hopes to see pending issues involving the unsolicited proposals for the Bohol-Panglao International Airport and Davao International Airport addressed by June and July, respectively.

An unsolicited offer to modernize the Davao International Airport has been submitted by Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. of Davao businessman Dennis Uy, while the infrastructure arm of the Aboitiz Group is seeking to operate, maintain, and expand the new Bohol-Panglao International Airport.

Both groups have been awarded the original proponent status for the respective airport projects.

“There are discussions now regarding certain technical things. We hope that by the end of June we will put this issue on Panglao to rest and we are ready to make the award upon compliance of the requirements by NEDA and the ICC board,” Tugade said during yesterday’s Management Association of the Philippines’ general membership meeting.

“On the matter of Davao, this is right now under discussion with NEDA. There are certain compliances which are being requested and mandated on the proponent. Hopefully, we can do a timeline here – that by July this matter would have been decided and resolved,” he said.

But while privatization of the two regional airports is expected to push through, Tugade said that of the country’s main international gateway would not.

“The privatization of NAIA, defined as an unsolicited proposal, has been put on hold. It encountered a lot of problems and we thought improvements in NAIA better be done by NAIA itself. Why? Because it has the funds and because we can progress it further without the hassles of unsolicited proposal procedures,” Tugade said.

“A month after we have terminated the unsolicited proposal, we have inaugurated the new apron and new taxiway, and certain improvements are being done,” he said.

The Manila international Airport Authority (MIAA) revoked last December the original proponent status granted to Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure Ltd. of India for their P109-billion offer to upgrade and rehabilitate NAIA.

Two more companies –Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions Inc. and San Miguel Corp. – have also submitted their respective unsolicited proposals for NAIA and could be tapped by the government should it decide to engage anew negotiations with the private sector.

The proposals, however, are not being studied at the moment.

“We are not entertaining any unsolicited proposals at the moment,” MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said in a mobile message.

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