Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Govt aims to complete at least 7 PPP projects by 2016

InterAksyon, 10 July 2014

By Leslie D. Venzon, Philippine News Agency

 

MANILA – The government hopes to complete at least seven more projects under the public-private partnerships (PPP) program by the end of the term of the Aquino administration in 2016.

“There will be projects that will be finished, hopefully, before the President’s term ends and some of the projects will go beyond 2016,” said Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda in a press briefing.

Lacierda said that regardless of whether or not these PPP projects are completed within the term of the Aquino administration, the objective is “to provide the necessary infrastructure in the country.”

Apart from at least seven projects targeted for completion in two years, the PPP Center earlier said the projects are in different stages of development, some in advanced stages, others in early stages.

Last month, President Benigno S. Aquino III approved three new PPP projects worth P140 billion including the Laguna-Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project; Laguindingan Airport Development, Operation, and Maintenance; and the New Bohol Airport Development Operations and Maintenance Project.

 

SMC still keen on infra jobs

Manila Standard Today, 10 July 2014

By Jenniffer B. Austria

 

Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said it will continue to bid for government infrastructure projects despite its disqualification from the P35-billion Cavite- Laguna Expressway project.

San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in an interview Wednesday at the sidelines of the stockholders’ meeting of Top Frontier Investment Holdings Inc. the company would join all infrastructure projects under the Public-Private Partnership scheme of the government.

“We will participate in the all public bidding of PPP projects of the national government,” Ang said.

Ang, however, declined to comment on the status of San Miguel’s appeal to overrule its disqualification in the auction of the Calax bidding project, despite its superior P20.1-billion offer.

“If you are under appeal, you are not supposed to make a comment,” Ang said.

The Public Works Department earlier disqualified Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc., the infrastructure unit of San Miguel, because of its failure to meet the requirements for the bid security.

The special bids and awards committee did not open the financial bid of Optimal Infrastructure after the company was disqualified.

The committee then declared Team Orion, a joint venture between Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Group, as the highest bidder for submitting an P11.659-billion offer in concession payment to the government, narrowly beating the tender  of MPCala Holdings Inc. of Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

However, Optimal Infrastructure wrote a 37-page memorandum of appeal asking President Aquino to order the Public Works Department and the Public-Private Partnership Center to dismiss the June 11, 2014 resolution that disqualified the company from joining the auction for the 47-kilometer toll way.

President Benigno Aquino III then ordered a stay of a Public Works Departments resolution that disqualified Optimal Infrastructure to bid Calax.

The P35.42-billion Calax involves the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of a four-lane, 47-kilometer closed-system toll expressway connecting the Cavite Expressway and the South Luzon Expressway

Other PPP projects in the pipeline are the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike project and the Mass Railway Transit Line 3.

So far, San Miguel has bagged one PPP project— Naia Expressway project.

 

Despite Calax disqualification, San Miguel still bullish on PPPs

Rappler , 10 July 2014

 

SMC President and COO Ramon Ang says they will still participate in all PPP project biddings, despite disqualification from the P35-B Cavite-Laguna expressway project

MANILA, Philippines – Conglomerate San Miguel Corporation said it would continue to bid for public-private partnerships (PPP) projects despite its disqualification from the P35-billion ($807.87 million*) Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) bidding.

“We will participate in the all public bidding of PPP projects of the national government,” San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in an interview on the sidelines of the annual stockholders’ meeting of shareholder Top Frontier Investment Holdings Inc. Wednesday, July 9.

To date, San Miguel has bagged one PPP project, the P15.86-billion ($366.01 million) NAIA expressway project.

Ang declined to comment though on the status of its appeal to overrule its disqualification in the auction of Calax. San Miguel offered P20.1 billion ($463.91 million) for the project.

Team Orion of Ayala and Aboitiz Land Incorporated submitted a concession payment of P11.66 billion ($269.10 million).

“… If you are under appeal, you are not supposed to make a comment,” Ang said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) disqualified San Miguel’s Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. from the bidding because of its failure to meet the bid security validity requirement.

San Miguel elevated the matter to the Office of the President (OP) after its appeal was rejected by DPWH several times.

On June 30, the OP directed DPWH to defer the award of the project to the Ayala group, pending its decision on the appeal.

The Calax project involves the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a 4-lane, 47-km closed-system toll expressway connecting the South Luzon Expressway and the Cavite Expressway. -Rappler.com

*($1 = P43.33)

 

DOTC: No fare hike yet for LRT, MRT

Rappler, 09 July 2014

 

The DOTC chief also clarifies that the LRT-1 Cavite extension project will no way affect the proposed fare hike for LRT lines 1 and 2 and MRT 3

MANILA, Philippines – The government has yet to set the amount and schedule of the fare increase for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines 1 and 2 and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3.

The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the MRT 3 have been seeking a fare increase since 2010 to improve their facilities and services.

No date has been set yet for the implementation of the fare hike since the two public consultations held late last year, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Wednesday, July 9.

The DOTC chief issued the statement following reports that the awarding of the P65-billion ($1.50 billion*)LRT-1 Cavite extension project would result in the fare increase effective Friday, August 1.

The agency clarified that the proposed P11+1 ($0.28) fare increase for LRT 1, LRT 2, and MRT 3 is completely separate from the PPP project and is not dependent on it.

The bidding process was fully in accordance with law, and recent attempts to block its award are meant to deprive the riding public of better access to jobs and other opportunities in Metro Manila, Abaya reiterated.

The Light Rail Manila Consortium was the lone bidder for the public-private partnership (PPP) project and offered to pay the government P9.35 billion ($215.76 million) to undertake it. The consortium is led by Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, with a 55% stake, and Ayala Corporation, with 35%. Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd. holds the remaining 10%.

“We disagree with the assertion that this project does not need to be awarded yet. We cannot honestly say this to the riding public who have been waiting for this project for many years, those whose lives will be uplifted with the opportunities and quality of life that the project presents,” Abaya said.

DOTC also said that the department’s undersecretary, Rene Limcaoco, did not favor the lone bidder. Limcaoco’s brother, Jose Teodoro, is working for the Ayala group.

“We categorically state that we followed the law in bidding this project out. We are confident in the steps we have taken, and we will defend our actions in any forum,” Abaya said. - Rappler.com

*($1 = P43.34)

 

DoTC rules out conflict of interest

Manila Standard Today, 09 July 2014

By Lailany P. Gomez

 

The Transportation Department and Ayala Corp. on Tuesday denied allegations of conflict of interest in any of the auctions won by the conglomerate.

Transportation spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal said Jose Teodoro Limcaoco, the older brother of Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco, was not a director, officer, or shareholder of AC Infrastructure or any other company forming the Light Rail Manila Consortium.

“There is no truth to the claim that a brother of Undersecretary Limcaoco was involved in the LRT-1 Cavite Extension PPP bidding. We confirm from our records that Jose Teodoro Limcaoco is not a director, officer or shareholder of AC Infrastructure or any other company forming the Light Rail Manila Consortium,” Sagcal said.

“The insinuations being made are clearly an attempt to cast doubt on the process that the DoTC conducted, which we categorically state to have been done in full accordance with law. The apparent purpose is to block the award of the project, which will work against the interest of hundreds of thousands of residents in southern Metro Manila and Cavite,” he said.

“They will be deprived of convenient and affordable access to more opportunities in the metropolis. The DoTC is confident in our actions and we are ready to defend this as well as the public’s interest in any forum.”

In a separate statement, Eric Francia, group head for corporate strategy and development of Ayala Corp., said the older Limcaoco is president of BPI Family Savings Bank. He was hired by Ayala as managing director in 1998. He was seconded to Bank of the Philippine Islands in January 2007 as president of BPI Capital Corp. and was later named president of BPI Family Savings Bank in July 2010.

“Some tabloid and radio news have mentioned Mr. Jose Teodoro K. Limcaoco and his affiliation to the Ayala group and to DOTC USec. Rene Limcaoco in the context of the LRT1 bid. Mr. Limcaoco has no management function at Ayala nor its infrastructure arm, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation. He had no involvement in any of the PPP bids that the Ayala group has participated in. As such, we strongly affirm the absence of conflict of interest in any of the DOTC bids,” Francia said.

 

Questions raised over bidding of LRT 1 Cavite project

ABS-CBN News, 08 July 2014

 

MANILA – Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares is raising questions about the bidding for the P65 billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite extension project.

He is asking why the government did not delay the bidding for a few weeks in order to get more bidders.

Another concern is the ties between DOTC Usec. Rene Limcaoco and Jose Teodoro Limcaoco, an official from the Ayala-Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) group, the lone bidder in the project.

“Si Usec. Limcaoco, ang alam namin ay hindi lang siya Usec sa DOTC, kapatid din niya ang isang mataas na opisyal ng Ayala,” said Colmenares.

Jose Teodoro Limcaoco is the president of Ayala-owned BPI Family Savings Bank.

He was appointed president of BPI Family Savings Bank in July 2010 after serving as president of BPI Capital Corp. in 2007 and as managing director of Ayala Corp. in 1998.

His brother, Usec. Limcaoco, is tasked to study projects bidded out through government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program.

‘No conflict of interest’

DOTC spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal denied, however, that there is a conflict of interest between the agency and the lone bidder.

“There is no truth to the claim that a brother of Undersecretary Limcaoco was involved in the LRT1 Cavite extension PPP bidding. We confirm from our records that Jose Teodoro Limcaoco is not a director, officer, or shareholder of AC Infrastructure or any other company forming the Light Rail Manila consortium,” he said.

Sagcal added that the insinuations being made are an attempt to cast doubt on the bidding process.

Ayala Corp. group head for corporate strategy and development Jose Eric Francia also said that Limcaoco “has no management function at Ayala nor its infrastructure arm, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation.”

“He had no involvement in any of the PPP bids that the Ayala group has participated in. As such, we strongly affirm the absence of conflict of interest in any of the DOTC bids,” Francia said.

Colmenares, however, is not convinced.

“Ang influence sa decision-making hindi naman ‘yan nakikita lang sa signatory eh. Pwede mo talaga sabihin na wala naman akong signature diyan. Pero dahil Usec ka eh, ano ba naman na sagutin muna nila ang mga tanong na ito. ‘Yun lang naman ang hinihingi ng riding public eh,” said Colmenares.

Under bidding rules, relatives of government officials involved in the project are not allowed to participate in any bidding process.

LRTA to discuss P9-B offer

The LRTA board is expected to hold a meeting on July 16 to discuss the P9.35 billion offer made by the Ayala-MPIC group.

“We are still determining the availability of members but we target next week,” LRTA administrator Honorio Chaneco said.

The offer made by the consortium will have to be approved first by the joint Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the DOTC and the LRTA.

The offer will then have to be ratified by the LRTA board before Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya gives the final approval.

Aside from the LRT-1 extension project, Ayala Corp. is also part of the consortium that bagged the automatic fare collection system.

On top of this, the DOTC also supports the transfer of the proposed P1.4 billion MRT-LRT common station to Ayala Land’s Trinoma mall, instead of the SM group’s North EDSA mall.

It said the move will save the government some P800 million.

DOTC is downplaying efforts to delay the awarding of the LRT extension project, the biggest PPP project under the Aquino administration so far.

Some sectors raised concern that the privatization of the mass transit system will result to higher fares, but LRTA spokesman Atty. Hernando Cabrera said the petition for higher fares has been pending with the government even before the bidding of the project.

The project will extend the LRT line from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite. – With a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

 

DOTC denies collusion in LRT-1 Cavite winning bid

The Manila Times, 08 July 2014

By Rosalie C. Periabras

 

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) denied allegations of a conflict of interest in the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension project, also known as the South Luzon Extension Project.

Earlier, radio and tabloid newspaper reports alleged impropriety among the Ayala group, BPI Family Savings Bank President Jose Teodoro Limcaoco, and DOTC Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco with regards to the LRT-1 bid won by a consortium that includes the Ayala group.

“There is no truth to the claim that a brother of Undersecretary Limcaoco was involved in the LRT-1 Cavite Extension PPP bidding. We confirm from our records that Jose Teodoro Limcaoco is not a director, officer or shareholder of AC Infrastructure or any company forming the Light Rail Manila Consortium,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message.

He added: “The insinuations being made are clearly an attempt to cast doubt on the process that the DOTC conducted, which we categorically state to have been done in full accordance with law.”

Sagcal also said that the apparent purpose of critics is to block the award of the project. This he said is against the interest of hundreds of thousands of residents in southern Metro Manila and Cavite.

“They will be deprived of convenient and affordable access to more opportunities in the metropolis. The DOTC is confident in our actions and we are ready to defend this as well as the public’s interest in any forum,” he said.

Meanwhile, Eric Francia, group head for Corporate Strategy and Development, Ayala Corp. issued a statement also denying the possible confluence between the two Limcaocos.

Limcaoco was hired by Ayala as managing director in 1998 and seconded to Bank of the Philippine Islands in January 2007 as president of BPI Capital Corp. He was later named president of BPI Family Savings Bank in July 2010.

“Limcaoco has no management function at Ayala nor its infrastructure arm, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. He had no involvement in any of the PPP bids that the Ayala group has participated in. As such, we strongly affirm the absence of conflict of interest in any of the DOTC bids,” Francia said.

In June, the lone bidder for the P65-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension project of the DOTC offered to pay the government a concession premium of P9.35 billion for the right to build, operate, and manage the new rail line.

The Light Rail Manila Consortium led by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) on May 28 submitted the lone bid for the LRT-1 extension project.

The consortium is made up of Metro Pacific’s Light Rail Corp. with a 55-percent share; Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings, with 35 percent; and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings Pte. Ltd., with 10 percent.

Already approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the LRT-1 Cavite extension project is the biggest infrastructure project under the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program.

The South Extension Project will extend the existing LRT Line 1, which covers 21 stations from Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City to Baclaran in Pasay City. The Cavite project will extend the service line by 11.7 kilometers, covering 10 more stations that will pass through the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas up to Bacoor, Cavite.

 

LRT 1 bidding aboveboard–Ayala, DOTC

Business Mirror, 08 July 2014

By Lorenz S. Marasigan

 

The infrastructure arm of Ayala Corp. and a spokesman of the transport agency disputed the claim of a party-list representative that the auction for the P64.9-billion Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension deal was marred by corruption.

The issue hounding the auction’s legality involves the alleged involvement of BPI Family Savings Bank President Jose Teodoro K. Limcaoco, a brother of Transportation Undersecretary Rene K. Limcaoco, in the bidding for the largest key infrastructure project that the government has auctioned off.

Party-list Rep. Neri J. Colmenares of Bayan Muna alleged that there was a “conflict of interest between the DOTC [Department of Transportation and Communications] officials and Ayala officers,” specifically between the Limcaoco brothers.

He said the relationship of the two officials should have been disclosed prior to the bidding.

However, DOTC Spokesman Michael Arthur C. Sagcal dismissed the allegation, saying the auction was conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

“The insinuations being made are clearly an attempt to cast doubt on the process that the DOTC conducted, which, we categorically state, to have been done in full accordance with law,” he said in a text message.

He lamented that the call of the lawmaker for an investigation into the apparent “problem area” might lead to a delayed awarding of the project.

“The apparent purpose is to block the award of the project, which will work against the interest of hundreds of thousands of residents in southern Metro Manila and Cavite. They will be deprived of convenient and affordable access to more opportunities in the metropolis,” he stressed.

“The DOTC is confident in our actions and we are ready to defend this as well as the public’s interest in any forum,” he noted.

AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp. President Eric T. Francia, for his part, clarified that although Jose Teodoro works for the banking arm of the Ayala family, he did not—in any possible way—participate in the auction.

“He had no involvement in any of the PPP [public-private partnership] bids that the Ayala group has participated in. As such, we strongly affirm the absence of conflict of interest in any of the DOTC bids,” he said.

The government hopes to award the multibillion-peso contract within the week, pending the approval of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Board which consists of heads of the transportation, budget, public works, finance, and socioeconomic agencies.  It also includes the chiefs of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the LRTA. A private-sector representative also sits at the board.

The Light Rail Manila Consortium of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp. was the sole bidder for the contract, offering a premium bid of P9.35 billion, which goes on top of the project cost.  The P65-billion railway expansion project aims to extend the existing LRT 1 by 11.7 kilometers (km), adding eight new stations, where approximately 10.5 km of the extension will be elevated and 1.2 km will be at grade. The winning bidder will also serve as the operator and the maintenance provider of the railway line.

 

Private investors prodded on infra projects’ assistance

Manila Bulletin, 07 July 2014

By Edu Lopez

 

The government has urged private investors to help undertake infrastructure projects as part of the Aquino administration’s strategy to stimulate inclusive growth and create jobs.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson said the Aquino government plans to raise infrastructure spending to P800 billion in 2016 to implement a comprehensive development strategy that involves building major roads and irrigation projects, upgrading schools and hospitals, and massive housing projects for informal settlers, all in support of national growth.

Singson said infrastructure spending would be be hiked to 5 percent of gross domestic product in 2016 to P800 billion, up from  2.5 percent of GDP in 2013 and 3.1 percent targeted for this year, equivalent to over P400 billion.

The funding would be funneled into building and maintaining national roads, bridges, port access roads, farm-to-market roads, irrigation systems, railways, and linkage roads to tourist destinations, as well as into flood-control projects across 45 provinces, said Singson during the recent first EU-Philippines Business Dialogue in Makati City.

Singson said the DPWH would engage in convergence programs that promote seamless coordination with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, Department of Education, and the National Housing Authority.

With the DOTC, for instance, the goal is to create an integrated transport system where roads leading to airports, seaports, RO-RO ports, and other transport hubs will be upgraded to national road standards, said Singson.

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are to be intensified to actualize these projects, such as the Cavite-Laguna expressway, whose construction will be opened to public bidding over the next few weeks, he added.

The DPWH has also proposed the biggest PPP project to date – the P122 billion 47-kilometer Laguna Lake road dike and spillway.

At the same time, Singson said Mindanao, which has been lagging behind in investment inflows and trade expansion, will be a key area for logistics development following the completion of a master plan to upgrade its infrastructure network.

The P100-billion Mindanao logistics network program is aimed at reducing logistics costs in the region by improving linkage roads to key ports and fish-production areas.

Singson explained that efforts to bolster the region’s economic expansion through an integrated infrastructure development plan will also encompass the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

At the same forum, Helena Koenig, directorate-general for trade of the European Commission, said Western investors would be happy to learn of these developments, pointing out that an increasing number of European firms are keen to explore business and investment opportunities in the Philippines if they see sincere efforts to develop a more investor-friendly business environment.

 

MAGKAPATID SA DOTC, AYALA? Officials say no conflict of interest in LRT1 bidding

InterAksyon, 08 July 2014

By Darwin G. Amojelar

 

MANILA – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Ayala Group on Tuesday belied reports on TV and radio that a conflict of interest marred the bidding of the LRT1 Cavite Extension Project.

“There is no truth to the claim that a brother of Undersecretary [Rene K.] Limcaoco was involved in the LRT1 Cavite Extension PPP bidding. We confirm from our records that Jose Teodoro Limcaoco is not a director, officer, or shareholder of AC Infrastructure or any other company forming the Light Rail Manila Consortium,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message.

The P64.9-billion LRT1 Cavite Extension Project is one of the public-private partnership ventures of the Aquino administration. AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp is a member of the Light Rail Manila Consortium, which submitted the highest bid for the project.

Sagcal said the insinuation of conflict of interest is an attempt to cast doubt on the process that the DOTC conducted, which “we categorically state to have been done in full accordance with law.”

“The apparent purpose is to block the award of the project, which will work against the interest of hundreds of thousands of residents in southern Metro Manila and Cavite,” Sagcal said, adding that the DOTC is ready to defend this as well as the public’s interest in any forum.

In a separate statement, Ayala Corp head for corporate strategy Eric T. Francia said the Jose Teodoro Limcaoco is president of BPI Family Savings Bank and “has no management function at Ayala nor its infrastructure arm, AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation.”

“He had no involvement in any of the PPP bids that the Ayala group has participated in,” Francia said.

Light Rail Manila offered a P9.35-billion concession fee to undertake the project. The DOTC expects to award the project this month.

The Ayala Group holds a 35 percent stake in Light Rail Manila, while partners MPIC Light Rail Corp and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte Ltd hold 55 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

MPIC Light Rail is a unit of listed Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC).

DOTC said more than 500,000 commuters everyday use LRT1, which runs from Baclaran in Pasay City to Roosevelt in Quezon City. The southern part of Metro Manila and neighboring Cavite province is home to nearly 4 million people.

InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5, which like MPIC is chaired by Manuel V. Panglinan.