The stage is set for another head-to-head battle between the group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan and conglomerate San Miguel Corp.—this time for the P13.61-billion contract to build and operate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Expressway.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) received yesterday the technical and financial bids for the Naia Expressway project from Pangilinan-led Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) and San Miguel unit Optimal Infrastructure Development Corp.
Publicly listed conglomerate Ayala Corp. and Indian-owned M/S IL and FS Transportation Network were prequalified to bid for the project but withdrew eventually. “They did not give a reason for withdrawing, but they said they still believed in the viability of the project,” said Cosette Canilao, executive director of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center.
MNTC’s and Optimal Infrastructure’s technical bids were opened by the DPWH’s bids and awards committee yesterday. Financial bids by both firms will be opened on April 15.
“What will happen between now and the 15th is that our technical working group will go through the technical bids to make sure these comply with our designs,” Canilao said. “If they pass this process, their financial bids will be opened. The bidder asking for the lowest government support will be declared the preferred bidder.”
While the Naia Expressway is a PPP project that ideally should have minimal cost to the government, the state will still partly fund the construction through Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor). The four companies with licenses to operate gaming and leisure projects at the Pagcor’s Entertainment City will also contribute funds to the expressway.
The Naia Expressway is the second phase of an existing project that will link the Metro Manila Skyway, Manila’s airport complex and the Entertainment City, the country’s answer to Asian gaming centers like those in Macau and Singapore.
The first phase of the road project was completed by Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp., Skyway’s current concessionaire, through the construction of an off-ramp that leads to the front of the Naia Terminal 3.
Phase 2 of the project involves the construction of an overhead tollroad that will start from Sales Avenue going to Andrews Avenue, Domestic Road, MIA (Manila International Airport) Road and end on Roxas Boulevard. The road will be 5.2 kilometers long, will have four lanes and five on-ramps and off-ramps.