THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. approved on Wednesday three new infrastructure projects, including the proposed rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
In a press briefing in Malacañang after their 7th meeting, Neda Director General Arsenio M. Balisacan announced the board gave the go-ahead for the solicited proposal to rehabilitate, operate, expand and transfer the NAIA.
He noted they expect the winning bidder for the P170-billion public-private partnership to be announced within the year.
The P170-billion figure is way below the unsolicited proposal of a consortium of business tycoons for the airport rehabilitation, a long-term plan for which they put a price tag of P267 billion.
The Neda Board-approved plan will cover all facilities of NAIA including its runways and four terminals.
“The goal of the project is to address long-standing issues at NAIA such as the inadequate capacity of passenger terminal buildings and restricted aircraft movement,” Balisacan said.
Once completed, the project is expected to almost double the passenger capacity of NAIA from 35 million to at least 62 million.
The other projects approved by the NEDA Board were the P7.48-billion Samar Pacific Coastal Road II Project and the P12.75-billion unsolicited Laguindingan Airport PPP Project located in Misamis Oriental.
Balisacan said the current administration is prioritizing the rehabilitation of the country’s existing airports to boost the country’s tourist arrivals.
“We are in a hurry to improve the—to address the issues there in the terminal because as you have noted, tourism is one of the main drivers of the Philippine economy in the coming years and want to ensure that tourists come here and have a good experience,” Balisacan explained.
During its meeting, Balisacan said the NEDA Board also approved changes to the scope, cost, design and/or loan validity of four ongoing projects, particularly in disaster risk reduction and climate change, irrigation and transportation.
It also confirmed the proposed adoption of a national policy on infrastructure sector master plans.
“The policy aims to harmonize and rationalize the formulation of master plans for the infrastructure sector across the government,” Balisacan said.
“This is to ensure that the master plans are coordinated, synergistic, responsive to emerging issues and consistent with the sector’s priority development challenges or strategies,” he added.
Miac plan unknown—for now
Without providing any concrete plans with the approval of the proposal as of writing time, Miac said the consortium received notification of the approval of the project.
It indicated, however, that it stands by the more comprehensive offer (for P267 billion) that it submitted last month.
“Regardless of the route, we firmly believe that Naia’s modernization requires a long-term and comprehensive solution delivered by a credible and capable party at the quickest possible time. These criteria—regardless of the approach—would best benefit Naia and the Filipino people,” Miac said in a statement.
The BusinessMirror sought for a more categorical answer from the consortium members on their plans, but they have yet to reply to the paper’s queries as of press time.
Meanwhile, Infrawatch said the approval of the Naia rehab proposal is “an acceptable middle ground between Miac’s unsolicited proposal and the original DOTr proposal amount of P141 billion.”
“This balances the government interest to expedite the rehabilitation of the country’s flagship airport through private sector capital and the public interest to ensure reasonable airport fees during the concession period,” Infrawatch Convener Terry Ridon said.
He noted that the approved cost has a “very significant cost difference” from the P267-billion price tag that Miac offered in June.
“Miac may opt to participate in the solicited bid, if it continues to believe that it can provide the project’s best vision, service and pricing at Neda’s approved project cost,” he said.