16 May 2013, Business Mirror
Filinvest Development Corp. has teamed up with Singaporeâ€™s Changi Airport Group to join six other bidders for the P17.5-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to turn it into a world-class aviation gateway.
The Changi Airport Group operates the Singapore airport, considered the worldâ€™s best.
The MCIA project is under the governmentâ€™s Public-Private Partnership Program. The project aims to convert the countryâ€™s second major airport into an ultra-modern passenger terminal that could accommodate up to 8 million travelers a year. The Department of Transportation and Communications is scheduled to announce this month the list of qualified bidders.
Changi was recently named the Worldâ€™s Best Airport, Best Airport in Asia, and the Best Airport for Leisure Amenities at the 2013 Skytrax World Airport Awards held in Geneva, Switzerland.Â Â The award was based on the results of a satisfaction survey with more than 12 million airport customers in 160 countries as respondents. Skytrax, the worldâ€™s top airport award-giving body, also bestowed the best airport award on Changi Airport in 2012, 2011 and 2010.
Lee Seow Hiang, chief executive officer of the Changi Airport Group, attributed the latest recognition to the efficiency and security that passengers experience in Changi Airport. Changi bested 395 airports worldwide as passengers expressed satisfaction with its check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security, immigration and departure services. The airport has won more than 390 awards since 1981, including 23 â€śBestâ€ť awards in 2011.
Filinvest is a leading property developer with almost 50 years of experience in providing well-crafted homes, medium-rise and high-rise building projects, inspiring townships and vibrant cities. With its motto, â€śWe Build the Filipino Dream,â€ť Filinvest has provided homes for more than 140,000 families through more than 100 projects nationwide.Â Â Among its major current projects is the one that the company and the Cebu CityÂ government are developingâ€”the 50.5-hectare Citta De Mare residential and leisure project in the South Road Properties.Â Â In Manila, the companyâ€™s prime developments include Filinvest City, a modern metropolis that sprawls over an expansive 244 hectares of prime property in Alabang, Muntinlupa; and Timberland Heights, a 677-hectare ecologically sustainable development in Rizal that boasts of themed communities and an exclusive country club.
The Filinvest-Changi Airport consortium includes the Gotianunâ€™s Filinvest Development Corp., Changi Airports Mena Pte. Ltd., Filinvest Land Inc., Filinvest Alabang Inc., Cyberzone Properties Inc. and Changi Airports Saudi Ltd.
16 May 2013, Business World
Air travel in the Philippines could see major changes this year, with the government working to improve airport services and update older facilities in Manila and Cebu City.
As air traffic increases both internationally and domestically, the private sector has a range of investment opportunities. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila is set to expand its operations and improve international services after the government put out a call for tenders on a number of refurbishment projects, which should help reduce congestion and delays. At the same time, domestic services are expected to receive more attention after several major multinationals bid on a project to build a new terminal at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu City, the countryâ€™s fifth-largest urban center.
According to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the NAIA handled 31.56 million airplane passengers in 2012, a 6.2% increase from 29.72 million recorded in 2011. Of these, 13.93 million boarded international flights and 17.63 million travelled domestically. Today, the NAIA is the 34th-busiest airport in the world, up from 46th in 2011, according to the Center for Aviation, a think-tank.
However, the NAIA has been troubled by delays, disorganization and lax safety and security records. These woes were exacerbated in 2007, when the US Federal Aviation Authority, acting on the recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), downgraded the Philippinesâ€™ standing as a compliant member of the ICAO due to safety and management issues. As a result, Philippine Airlines (PAL) has not been able to expand its US service beyond Honolulu, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
More recently, the government has taken steps to open up the market. In 2011, President Aquino signed a number of laws liberalizing the aviation industry, and formed the Philippine Air Negotiating Panel and the Philippine Air Consultation Panel, with the aim of pursuing a more effective open skies policy. At the same time, foreign carriers were exempted from a pair of taxes amounting to 5.5% of gross turnover.
Building on earlier plans, the government announced in January this year that it was accepting bids on tenders for refurbishments and renovations at NAIA, including a baggage porter system, a new remote-controlled and -monitored air navigation hazard prevention system, roof repairs in Terminal 2, speaker upgrades in Terminal 1 and five new mini-buses to shuttle passengers. The government has also ordered aviation schools and general aviation aircraft to transfer operations elsewhere by 2014, which should reduce delays and congestion.
Further positive developments came about in March and April, when the ICAO announced that the NAIA had passed a five-day safety audit, clearing the way for further expansion into North America and the EU. Ramon S. Ang, the president and COO of PAL, told local media he would like to see flight services expand to New York and European destinations in the coming years. Weeks later, the Aquino administration announced it would tender bids for P434.5 million ($10.58 million) worth of upgrades and refurbishments at airports across the country.
As the Philippines braces itself for double-digit growth in air traffic in the coming years — passenger volumes are expected to reach 40 million by 2021 — the government is also looking to focus more on domestic services, most notably with the redevelopment of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. This build-operate-transfer project involves the construction of an eight-million capacity passenger terminal, as well as a 20-year concession to operate and maintain all facilities at the airport.
The government set a deadline of April 22 for bidders to submit pre-qualification documents. Among those that expressed interested are several domestic firms (Metro Pacific Investments, JG Summit Holdings, San Miguel Group), as well as a partnership between local company Megawide Construction and Indiaâ€™s GMR Infrastructure.
16 May 2013, Rappler.com
The government is considering increasing its domestic borrowings to create a P30-billion contingent liability fund for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.
National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said the fund would be used for emergency cases such as when the government needs to pay debt as a result of problematic contracts.
“It may come from additional revenues or additional borrowings,” she told reporters on Thursday, May 16.
The government has been trying to reduce its overall debt burden, including its guaranteed debt. Guaranteed debt refers to debt incurred by state agencies and corporations but are guaranteed by the national government.
As of end-February, the government had total guaranteed debt of P484 billion, lower than the P555 billion incurred in the same period last year.
The PPP is the flagship infrastructure program of the Aquino administration. -Â with reports from Cai Ordinario/Rappler.com