Business World Online, 04 September 2012
THE AQUINO administration’s centerpiece public-private partnership (PPP) program moved forward yesterday with the issuance of award notices for school building contracts and the approval of two transportation projects.
The Education department, Undersecretary Francisco M. Varela said, had issued notices of award and post-award requirements for the PPP School Infrastructure Program (PSIP) to the consortiums of Citicore Holdings Investment, Inc.-Megawide Construction Corp., Inc. and BF Corp.-Riverbanks Development Corp.
In Malacañang, meanwhile, Secretary Ramon “Ricky” A. Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board had approved the Transportation department’s P9.76-billion Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) east extension project and the P7.4 billion new Panglao, Bohol airport development.
The LRT-2 project involves the construction as well as operation and maintenance of a 4.19-kilometer extension of the railway from Santolan Station in Pasig City to the Masinag Junction in Antipolo City.
The Bohol project, meanwhile, involves the replacement of the existing Tagbilaran airport with a new facility on the resort island of Panglao.
Mr. Carandang said the bidding process for the two “should start very, very soon — in a matter of weeks.”
The BF Corp.-Riverbanks and Citicore-Megawide consortiums were last month named the winners of contracts to build 9,301 classrooms in three Luzon regions. The Education department said their tenders — worth a total of P16.28 billion based on a table of annual lease payments — had come in under the approved budget of P16.4 billion.
BF Corp.-Riverbanks set annual lease payments at P344.59 billion for 2,157 classroom packages in the Ilocos region, while Citicore-Megawide pegged these at P522.898 billion and P760.490 billion, respectively, for 2,885 classrooms in Central Luzon and 4,259 in Calabarzon.
Yesterday’s notices, signed by Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro, stated that the department was hoping to stage the signing of build, lease and transfer agreements on Sept. 19.
The companies should “be able to deliver all the classrooms by the end of 2013,” Mr. Varela said in an ambush interview after a Senate hearing where he informed legislators of the award notices’ issuance.
Oliver Y. Tan, Megawide chief finance officer, said they had yet to receive the award notices but claimed “detailed engineering [can start] this month and construction next month.”
Mr. Varela said the second phase of the PSIP, covering 11,000 classrooms in the Visayas and Mindanao, could be bid out by the end of the year.
Awarding of the PSIP contracts would cap the second successful PPP auction staged by the Aquino government, which so far only has Ayala Corp.’s having bagged the P1.96-billion Daanghari-Southern Luzon Expressway Link last December to its credit.
Officials have said that so-called delays in the PPP program — launched by the government with much fanfare in late 2010 — were due to the need for extensive reviews and reforms.
Mr. Carandang, meanwhile, said the NEDA board had also approved other projects:
• Public Works department proposals involving a P351-billion comprehensive flood control plan for Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, P16.3 billion worth of bridge projects in calamity-hit areas and a change in scope for the P3.9-billion Mindanao Roads Improvement Project;
• the purchase of 52 new coaches for the Metro Rail Transit 3 (P8.6 billion);
• construction of a new airport in Daraga, Legazpi City (P4.8-billion);
• rehabilitation of the Angat dam and dike (P5.7 billion); and
• the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.’s request to adjust the financing scheme for the Agus VI hydroelectric power plant’s capacity upgrade.
The Palace spokesman said the board deferred action on the proposed purchase of 10 brand-new patrol vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard worth P7.37 billion and construction of the P19.69-billion Cavite Laguna Expressway, another PPP project.