The door is still open for the group led by Megawide Construction Corporation to address government concerns and push through with its bid to take over and rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Thursday.
In a Senate hearing, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Megawide and Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. still have a procedural right to the NAIA rehabilitation bid, even though their original proponent status (OPS) has been revoked.
"Kung pag-usapan 'yung mga submission, 'yung mga interpretasyon, meron pa hong mga bintana at pintong nakabukas para magkaroon ng pagkakataong pag-usapan at bigyang pananaw 'yung mga interpretasyon sa equity, submission," he explained.
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), in a board meeting on December 4, decided to revoke the OPS of the Megawide-GMR group.
On Thursday, Tugade said that in a subsequent meeting on December 15, the decision was confirmed, albeit with two caveats: that MIAA will continue with its ongoing NAIA rehabilitation and reconstruction program; and that Megawide has procedural rights to the project.
"Ang reading ko ho dito sa nangyari noong December 15, hindi pa ho sarado completely 'yung usapan ng OPS ng Megawide," Tugade explained, noting that the private proponent still has time to address government concerns.
Among issues raised by the Investment Coordination Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-ICC) are the financial capacity of the group to push through with the project, as well as the supposed failure to meet deadlines.
In terms of the financial capacity, Megawide said it has already submitted the necessary documents to prove that it can undertake the project together with GMR, with 70% of the project from debt and the remaining 30% from equity.
There were also interpretation issues between the government and the Megawide group, as the government said Megawide must first prove that they can undertake the project's total cost, pegged at P109 billion.
Megawide, however, interpreted the build-operate-transfer (BOT) law as saying that the group only needs to prove that they have the financial capacity to finance the project by phases.
"Answering the issue of timeline and considering the flow of events, siguro ho kung merong motion for reconsideration na isusumite 'yung Megawide, isumite 'yan bago ho 'yung next board meeting para ng sa ganon, ma-take up po 'yan," said Tugade.
The Megawide group was granted the OPS for the NAIA rehabilitation in July, after talks with the NAIA Consortium, made up of several of the country's largest conglomerates, collapsed.
The Megawide consortium submitted its original $3-billion unsolicited proposal in March 2018, but it was set aside in favor of the NAIA Consortium, whose proposal was received by the government first.
Megawide earlier said it will appeal the cancellation of its OPS. Shares in the company closed Thursday at P8.45 apiece, down by 25 centavos or 2.87% from Wednesday's finish of P8.70 apiece. — BM, GMA News