The government is set to proceed with the auction of the P19-billion Davao Sasa Modernization public private partnership project, despite opposition raised by the Davao City Council, the head of the PPP Center said.

The statement comes as the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao formally opposed the Aquino administration’s first seaport PPP deal, saying it was bid out “without prior consultation” with the city council.

The opposition was backed by several businessmen including the Floirendo family, whose nearby Davao International Container Terminal Inc. would be affected by the Davao Sasa modernization deal.

PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said the project, being implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communications, had been endorsed by the Regional Development Council and the bidding would continue.

The tentative bid submission date is on January 2016, information on the PPP Center’s website showed.

“Of course, the national government will continue to resolve any issues of the city council with respect to the implementation of the project,” Canilao said in a text message.

Qualified groups are San Miguel Holdings Corp.- APM Terminals Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. Consortium, Enrique Razon Jr.’s International Container Terminal Services Inc., Asian Terminals Inc.- DP World FZE Consortium, Portek International Pte. Ltd.-National Marine Corp. Consortium, and Bollore Africa Logistics.

The private partner will finance the construction and modernization as well as handle operations and maintenance of the existing port for 30 years.

This includes the new apron, linear quay, expansion of the back-up area, container yards, warehouses and the installation of new equipment like ship-to-shore cranes and rubber-tyred gantry.

The Davao City Council resolution cited Section 2 (c) of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code.

It stated that: “It is likewise the policy of the State to require all national agencies and offices to conduct periodic consultations with appropriate local government units, nongovernmental and people’s organizations, and other concerned sectors of the community before any project or program is implemented in their respective jurisdictions.”

Alexander Valoria, president of the Floirendo-led Anflocor Management and Investment Corp., added in a statement that projections for the Davao Sasa modernization project were “unrealistic” given existing operators in the area.

He said container shipping requirements were already met by the group’s Davao International Container. He cited other groups such as the Terminal Facilities and Services Corp., Sumifru, Unifrutti, Dole/Pacinter and the planned Hijo International Port Services, Inc., many of whom have commercial port operations that would be affected by the PPP project.

The department is seeking to award the Davao Sasa modernization project before President Aquino steps down in mid-2016.

17 December 2015
By Miguel R. Camus