METRO PACIFIC Investments Corp. (MPIC) is interested in taking over the operations and maintenance (O&M) of Clark International Airport’s proposed new terminal when the contract is bid out by the government.
“Yes, we’ll take a look at it,” MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters last week when asked if the infrastructure conglomerate would be interested to join the bidding of the O&M component of the Clark Airport expansion.
The government earlier this year announced it will pursue the P12.55-billion Clark International Airport Expansion Project on its own and eventually bid out the O&M contract for the airport.
It will offer to investors this month the contract to build an 82,600-square-meter terminal building that will be designed to accommodate eight million passengers a year, nearly double the current 4.2 million capacity, and should be completed by 2019.
“I think lahat ng UP (unsolicited proposal), na-submit na so, what the government is bidding out is the construction of the new terminal and then O&M so yeah [we’re interested],” Mr. Pangilinan further said.
Bidding for both the construction and O&M of the Clark airport is scheduled this year. The government had said it will not wait for the construction of the airport to finish before bidding out the O&M contract, citing the need for the private operator to have inputs in the design and construction.
Vivencio B. Dizon, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and chief executive officer, earlier said the tender for the maintenance and operation of the expanded Clark airport will take place a few months after the bidding for the construction of the new terminal.
MPIC earlier submitted an unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate and expand Clark, despite pronouncements from government that it will pursue the project on its own first, and eventually bid out the operations and maintenance contract.
Aside from MPIC, Megawide Construction Corp., along with Bangalore-based airport operator GMR Infrastructure Ltd., earlier expressed interest in developing the gateway in Clark. Last year, the company submitted a $5-billion unsolicited proposal to develop the Clark airport to the government. The Filinvest Group and JG Summit Holdings, Inc., also turned in a $3.7-billion unsolicited proposal for the expansion and upgrade of the gateway in Pampanga.
The government rejected these proposals and decided to pursue the project that will test the waters for a “hybrid” financing scheme that will see a mix of state funding and public-private partnerships (PPP) for the O&M component of the project.
The government, which has made infrastructure its priority, has said it will reduce reliance on PPP which it says takes too long to implement projects as some losing bidders stall the progress of major projects by securing court injunctions after questioning the bidding process.
The government has been promoting Clark as an alternative gateway to help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) which has been accommodating passenger traffic far above its designed capacity. In 2016 for example, NAIA reported that it handled 39.5 million passengers, against its rated capacity of 30.5 million.
MPIC is one of three Philippine subsidiaries of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being PLDT, Inc. and Philex Mining Corp. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., maintains interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Imee Charlee C. Delavin