The Philippine Star, 17 December 2014
By Lawrence Agcaoili
MANILA, Philippines – The National Economic and Development Authority – Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) is set to discuss on Friday eight public private partnership (PPP) projects worth P625 billion including the rebidding of the Cavite – Laguna expressway (Calax) and the Swiss challenge for the North Luzon and South Luzon Expressway connector road.

PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao told a press conference on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) PPP Networking Forum that NEDA-ICC is scheduled to discuss the rebidding of the P35.4 billion Calax as well as the Swiss challenge for the P18 billion NLEX-SLEX connector road.

Canilao said the NEDA-ICC would have to discuss the terms of the rebidding of the Calax, primarily the P20.1-billion floor price set by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

President Aquino ordered the rebidding of Calax after San Miguel Corp. (SMC) filed an appeal before Malacañang questioning the disqualification of Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. from the bidding last June.

Team Orion, a 50-50 joint venture between Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Land Inc., has expressed disappointment over the decision. It submitted the highest bid of P11.659 billion.

“The recent challenge that we faced in Calax only shows that we need to improve our structure and our framework. But nonetheless, the private investors understand that,” Canilao said.

According to Canilao, a total of 24 companies have expressed interest in the P123 billion Laguna Lakeshore expressway dike (LLED) project despite the controversy involving the bidding of Calax.

Likewise, the NEDA-ICC is also scheduled to discuss on the best option on how to undertake the much-delayed NLEX-SLEX connector road of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC).

MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC) wants to pursue the joint venture with state-run Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) but the Department of Justice (DOJ) is recommending a Swiss challenge for the unsolicited proposal.

Other PPP projects to be discussed by the NEDA-ICC are the P374.5-billion Mass Transit System Loop or subway system connecting the central business districts in Makati, Taguig, and Pasay; P177.2 billion North – South Railway project from Metro Manila to Legazpi City in Albay; the P19.33-billion Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS); and the P1.16 billion Civil Registry System – Information Technology project (Phase 2).

Also calendared for discussion is the proposed 15-kilometer extension of the Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT-1) from the proposed end in Bacoor all the way to Dasmarinas in Cavite as well as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) development project.

Canilao said the NEDA-ICC meeting this Friday would be followed by the NEDA Board meeting to be headed by President Aquino in the middle of January after the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines.

The Philippines is currently hosting the first ASEAN Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Networking Forum gathering members of the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC), national coordinators, PPP focal points and officials responsible for infrastructure projects from the ten ASEAN Member States.

The forum provides ASEAN member countries the opportunity to exchange information and share experiences about their PPP programs, establish a network of PPP units among ASEAN member countries and pitch their PPP projects to prospective investors, financing institutions, and development partners.

It will also tackle the proposed ASEAN Guidelines/Principles on PPP to harmonize policy, institutional, and regulatory frameworks of the AMS and enhance the economic integration competitiveness of the region.