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DOTr chief Bautista welcomes unsolicited proposal to upgrade NAIA

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista has welcomed the unsolicited proposal of six Filipino conglomerates and its US-based partner Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“I welcome this opportunity from the private sector to modernize the Manila International Airport because the private sector can be more efficient,” Bautista said in an interview on CNN Philippines on Tuesday.

“They [private sector] can implement faster reforms because they are not covered by certain government limitations,” he added.

Last week, a group of six Filipino conglomerates and GIP formed the Manila international Airport Consortium (MIAC) and submitted an unsolicited proposal to upgrade the NAIA through a public-private partnership (PPP).

The six conglomerates which joined forces with GIP are Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Asia's Emerging Dragon Corporation, Alliance Global-Infracorp Development, Inc., Filinvest Development Corporation, and JG Summit Infrastructure Holdings Corporation.

The MIAC’s unsolicited proposal valued at over P100 billion includes a “significant upfront payment to government” as well committed investments in new facilities and technology to transform NAIA into a world-class airport.

“I fully welcome the news that the private sector will operate or enter into a concession agreement with the government for the operations and maintenance of Manila International Airport,” Bautista said.

Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Cesar Chiong, in a press briefing, said the agency will thoroughly review the proposal.

“Pagaaralan nating mabuti kung ano po ‘yung proposal ng private sector,” Chiong said.

In December last year, Bautista announced that the government is opening the negotiating table for the privatization of NAIA as it worked with the Asian Development Bank to prepare the terms of reference.

During the previous administration, two major proposals were made to rehabilitate the airport, one from the so-called NAIA Consortium which included the same conglomerates forming the MIAC, namely Asia’s Emerging Dragon, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., Filinvest Development Corp., and JG Summit Holdings Inc.

The Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. was also part of the consortium until it pulled out.

Another proposal was submitted by a consortium of Megawide Construction Corp. and Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd.

The proposals of the NAIA Consortium and the Megawide consortium were eventually rejected by the government due  to operational and financial viability issues.

As the Marcos administration leverages on public-private partnerships for its infrastructure push, Bautista earlier said that in, once again, opening NAIA for privatization the government will be “investor-friendly.” — Ted Cordero/RSJ, GMA Integrated News