DOTC: We will defend airport project to the end

Posted at 04/06/2014 3:24 PM | Updated as of 04/06/2014 11:36 PM

Filinvest disappointed DOTC snubbed anomalies in winning consortium's bid

MANILA -- The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) insisted that it stuck to the bidding rules and legal processes in awarding the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to the Megawide-GMR Consortium.

Transport Secretary Joseph “Jun” Abaya said the government is confident that it has all necessary legal basis to finally pursue the project.

Nonetheless, Abaya said that should the Supreme Court issue a ruling against it, the DOTC will follow.

“We will have to honor any court issuance that will prevent the project from moving forward, even if we believe that there is no more time to waste in improving the country’s second busiest airport. What we can assure Cebuanos who are awaiting this project is that we have the law on our side and we will defend this project to the end,” Abaya said.

Senator Sergio Osmena III earlier threatened to sue the department, citing lapses in the bidding process.

Filinvest disappointed

Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC) also said the issues it raised against the winning bidder are valid, relevant and substantive.

In a statement, FDC spokesman Joseph Yap said: “We are disappointed by the DOTC Prequalification, Bids and Awards Committee (PBAC)’s dismissal of the issues we had raised during the post-qualification review of the MCIA Project.”

He said following the bidding process is paramount.

“Our primary concern in raising these issues has always been to ensure adherence to the bidding process and rules in order to produce the right outcomes for the Philippines. This helps guarantee that the Mactan Cebu International Airport will truly become a world-class airport,” he said.

The Filinvest-Changi Airports International consortium is the second highest bidder.

Filinvest claimed conflict of interest since one of the members of the board of directors of an affiliate of India’s GMR Infrastructure Ltd. is the managing director of Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.

The winning bidder is composed of GMR Infrastructure and Megawide Construction Corp. Malaysia Airports, on the other hand, submitted a separate bid via the First Philippine Airports Consortium.

“One of the conflict of interest provisions prohibits a board member or partner of a bidder, consortium member or its affiliates from being directly involved in any capacity in the MCIA bid process for another bidder, consortium member or its affiliates,” FDC had said.

No more irregularities?

Abaya said gone are the days when government projects are wrought with irregularities.

“By sticking to bidding rules and refusing to be influenced by external factors, we are showing the world that the country now has an excellent investment climate. Gone are the days when big-ticket contracts would be awarded despite being tainted with irregularities. As promised, bidding at the DOTC is conducted on a level playing field, because we follow Daang Matuwid,” he said.

The Philippines’ investment climate has been viewed as risky due to several corruption issues in the past.

“There is only one way to create that perception: to prove it with our actions. If we promise honest and competent governance, we must show it. If we promise a level playing field, we must do it. We made those promises to investors when we began with this project, and now we have proven it. This will be good for our country, and of course, the people of Cebu who have long been waiting for a world-class airport,” Abaya said.