The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is deliberating over the participation of South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corp. in the auction of Cebu’s main air gateway after concerns were raised that it may have an “undue advantage.”
Incheon Airport, whose airport near Seoul has been branded as one of the best in the world, was tapped by the Philippine government to craft the feasibility study and master plan of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in 2010.
The airport’s rehabilitation, expansion and operations are now being auctioned off to the private sector, packaged under a P17.5 billion public private partnership (PPP) deal.
DOTC secretary Joseph Abaya told the Inquirer in a briefing that the agency’s bids and awards committee was looking into the matter.
DOTC on May 16 prequalified all seven consortia vying for the project, which drew some of the country’s biggest conglomerates and their respective foreign partners, including Singapore’s Changi Airport, the partner of the Gotianun group.
Incheon’s local partner is conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
“We are now deliberating on that and looking to see if they [Incheon] had advance information. We want to see if this makes the playing field not a level one. But our general attitude is to maximize competition,” Abaya said.
Incheon Airport has yet to respond to an Inquirer request for a comment.
Abaya acknowledged that he was aware of the Incheon study but he was not fully briefed on the matter when he assumed the post of DOTC secretary last year.
The DOTC hopes to wrap up its deliberations within the next two weeks, DOTC undersecretary Rene Limcaoco said.