Tycoons’ plan to spruce up Naia gets powerful body’s nod
Economic managers on Friday gave the green light to the joint proposal of seven tycoons to rehabilitate Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the country’s main gateway.
In a text message, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said Naia Consortium’s proposal was approved by the persuasive National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (Neda ICC-CabCom) when they met to tackle the fate of 10 projects.
Pernia, who cochairs the ICC-CabCom, said public-private partnership proposals like Naia Consortium’s plan to upgrade and operate the airport “are part of ‘Build, Build, Build’ and will be appraised in accordance with the overall infrastructure plan, appropriateness and feasibility.” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III is the other ICC chair.
After the Neda ICC-CabCom approval, the next hurdle is the Neda board chaired by the President.
Five other unsolicited airport projects were being reviewed for Neda approval: the New Panglao Bohol International Airport, 50-year integrated development plan for Mactan-Cebu International Airport, operate-add-transfer for Laguindingan Airport and Davao international airport, and operation and maintenance (O&M) and facility upgrade of Kalibo International Airport.
The Naia Consortium project faced an obstacle when the Department of Transportation revealed a new policy that required unsolicited offers for existing airports to follow the template of Clark International Airport’s O&M contract.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that following a template would reduce the negotiation period for unsolicited proposals. He said the offer would be rejected outright if the proponents objected.
The government agreed to the Clark airport deal by a consortium led by JG Summit Holdings Inc. and Filinvest Development Corp. since the private sector carried some of the major risks.
But last week, Pernia said the Clark airport formula could not be fully applied in the case of the proposed Naia rehabilitation.
“It cannot be strictly the same because it’s not just pure O&M [as in the case of Clark airport]—it’s O&M plus rehabilitation [for Naia],” according to Pernia.