Business World, 23 December 2014
By Chrisee J.V. Dela Paz
TWO companies that slugged it out for an airport deal auctioned off last year and awarded last April under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program have found themselves in opposing camps anew, vying this time for the contract to build and operate an integrated transport hub in southern Metro Manila.

Of 16 groups that bought bid documents for the P2.5-billion 35-year build-transfer-operate (BTO) deal for the Integrated Transport System-Southwest (ITS-Southwest) Terminal project, only Filinvest Land, Inc. and Megawide Construction Corp. subsidiary MWM Terminals submitted qualification documents, technical offers and financial bids on Monday, Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla, the Department of Transportation and Communications undersecretary for Legal Affairs, said during yesterday’s submission of bids at the department’s headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

“Sixteen parties bought bid documents; but for reasons unknown to us, there are only two companies that submitted bids for this project,” Mr. Lotilla said before bidders and members of the department’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).

The other 14 companies that bought bid documents for the project were D.M. Wenceslao and Associates, Inc.; Ayala Land, Inc.; Metro Pacific Tollways Corp.; San Miguel Corp.; Vicente T. Lao Construction; Egis Projects Philippines; Robinsons Land Corp.; Ayala Corp.; State Properties Corp.; Expedition Construction Corp.; MGS Construction, Inc.; Altus San Nicolas Corp.; Megaworld Corp.; and Tutuban Properties.

Sought for comment, Delfin J. Wenceslao Jr., chairman of D.M. Wenceslao and Associates, Inc., said in a text message on Monday: “The board just decided to focus its efforts on our internal projects.” Officials of other companies were not immediately available for comment.

The department will review the two bids for ITS-Southwest Terminal over the next 45 days.

“BAC will have 10 days to determine [sic] the bidders based on their qualification documents, after which it will have 20 days to evaluate the technical proposals,” Transportation Spokesperson Michael Arthur C. Sagcal told reporters at the sidelines of the bidding.

“Following this, the BAC will have 15 days to evaluate the financial proposals of bidders that have passed both previous evaluations, then after that is the announcement of the winning proponent,” Mr. Sagcal explained.

The ITS-Southwest Terminal project — to be built on a 4.59-hectare site near the Manila-Cavite Expressway — is meant to give commuters from Cavite access to various transport modes, including the future Light Rail Transit Line 1 South Extension.

To be executed under a 35-year BTO contract, it is the first of its kind to be auctioned off by the government.

This is the second time Filinvest Land and Megawide did battle for a PPP deal. The Filinvest-Changi consortium lost to the GMR-Megawide consortium in the auction for the P17.5-billion Mactan-Cebu International contract.

Megawide and Filinvest have also expressed interest in the first water PPP deal of the government, which is the P24.4-billion Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project.

Besides ITS-Southwest Terminal, DoTC is also looking at building similar integrated transport hubs in northern and another part of southern Metro Manila.

Last month, four firms sought to qualify to bid for the P4-billion contract to build an integrated transport hub near the Food Terminal, Inc. compound in Taguig City.

Mr. Sagcal identified the prospective bidders that submitted pre-qualification documents for the ITS-South Terminal project as, again, Filinvest Land, Inc. and MWM Terminals, besides Ayala Land, Inc. and Datem, Inc..

While the ITS-Southwest Terminal project involves a one-stage bidding process, ITS-South involves a two-stage process wherein qualification documents are submitted separately from the technical and financial offers of those later on deemed qualified to submit bids.

The Transportation department aims to issue bid documents for the ITS-South Terminal project — which consist of instruction to bidders, minimum performance standards and specifications, and draft concession agreement — “by Dec. 29,” Mr. Sagcal said.

A pre-bid conference is slated for January next year, while deadline for technical and financial bid submission will be in April, the Transportation spokesman had said in November.

A project brief of the PPP Center showed the ITS-South Terminal project involves design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the facility that will give commuters from Laguna and Batangas access to other transport systems, such as the future North-South Commuter Railway project.

The ITS-South Terminal project will be executed under a 35-year BTO deal that will also be inclusive of construction period.

Other than ITS-South, the Transportation department is also looking at building a similar integrated transport hub in northern Metro Manila.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya told reporters at the sidelines of the bidding on Monday that his department is still finalizing the location of the hub.

Veterans Memorial Medical Center, the former site of Manila Seedling Bank, the Philippine National Railways terminal in Caloocan City and the University of the Philippines Diliman campus are among the sites that the department has been considering as options, according to Mr. Abaya.

A check with the PPP Center’s Web site showed the hub in the northern part of Metro Manila is meant to serve long-haul provincial and short-distance city transport service providers. Project cost, however, has yet to be determined.

Mr. Abaya also said yesterday that the department targets to publish “before Dec. 25” the invitation to bidders for the P18.99-billion Davao Sasa Port Modernization project. The project, to be undertaken under a 35- to 40-year BTO deal, will involve development of the existing Davao Sasa Port in Davao City — a facility deemed strategic for Mindanao’s economy — into a modern, international-standard container terminal.

Eight PPP projects have been awarded so far by the Aquino government since the late-2010 launch of this flagship infrastructure program: the P64.9-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension; the P1.72-billion Automatic Fare Collection System; the P17.52-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building; the P2.01-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway Link Road; the P15.52-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway; the P16.28-billion first phase of the PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP); the PSIP’s P3.86-billion second phase; and the P5.69-billion Philippine Orthopedic Center modernization project.