By Arjay L. Balinbin
THE GOVERNMENT has raised concerns over portions of the concession agreement drafted by the “super consortium” that is proposing to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
In a press conference in Pasay City on Monday, Transportation (DoTr) Undersecretary for Planning & Project Development Ruben S. Reinoso, Jr. said that the government and the consortium will have to renegotiate parts of the draft concession deal, particularly the plan to lay off airport workers and the use of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system to transport passengers within the airport complex.
He said the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which is the primary grantor, has expressed “reservations” over the proposed use of a BRT as a “people mover” within the airport complex.
“Baka may issue ng security ’yun on the tarmac (This may be a security issue on the tarmac),” Mr. Reinoso said, but declined to elaborate.
Mr. Reinoso also raised the issue regarding the job security of the current MIAA personnel. He said there was an initial agreement between the NAIA consortium and the government that none of MIAA’s employees will be laid off.
“Ngayon doon sa [revised proposal] nila parang 180 days lang. Hindi kasama sa usapan na 180 days lang nila i-empleyo ’yun (Now under the revised proposal, they only have 180 days. We did not agree that the employees will only have 180 days),” the DoTr official added.
In November last year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board approved the unsolicited P102-billion proposal from a consortium composed of the country’s top conglomerates to rehabilitate the country’s main gateway.
The so-called NAIA super consortium is composed of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc; AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; JG Summit Holdings, Inc.; and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
Once the MIAA and NAIA consortium agree on terms and conditions of the concession agreement, the MIAA will then submit the draft agreement to the Office of the Solicitor General and the Department of Finance for comment.
Mr. Reinoso said the government is hoping that concerns regarding the concession agreement will be settled by March.
“After we have concluded the negotiation, we will go back to the NEDA Board to report on the results of the negotiation and get confirmation. After which, we will submit the draft concession agreement to SolGen. Kapag okay na ’yun, we will start publishing the concession agreement and begin the Swiss challenge,” he explained.
Since it is an unsolicited proposal, the NAIA rehabilitation project will still be subject to a Swiss challenge.
The Swiss challenge is the competitive bidding process where third-party companies are invited to submit counterproposals to a project, which the original proponent has the right to match.
The rehabilitation of the NAIA, whose main terminal opened in 1981, is expected to increase its capacity to 47 million passengers a year in the first two years and further expand this to 65 million passengers after four years.
The NAIA, which has four terminals, has been operating beyond its 30.5 million passenger capacity. It recorded 45.3 million passengers in 2018.