Probe sought on Cebu international airport bidding
MANILA, Philippines—Cebu lawmakers have filed a joint resolution seeking a congressional inquiry into the bidding for the contract to expand the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA), which has been estimated to cost P17.5 billion.
House Assistant Majority Leader and Cebu Representative Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. (first district) filed House Bill 863 while seven other Cebuano representatives — Raul del Mar (Cebu City, North District), Joseph “Ace” Durano (fifth district), Benhur Salimbangon (fourth district), Gwendolyn Garcia (third district), Aileen Radaza (Lapu-Lapu City), Rodrigo Abellanosa (Cebu City, South District), Wilfredo Caminero (second district)–filed House Resolution 782, both of which sought clarity to allegations that the winning bidder, Megawide Construction Corp. and Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure. Ltd., faced conflict of interest issues and lacked the financial resources to undertake the massive project.
Megawide-GMR’s offer of P14.4 billion for the right to build the Mactan Cebu airport narrowly beat the bid of complainant Filinvest-Changi which offered P13.999 billion.
HB 782 of the group of Del Mar urged the House committee on transportation to conduct an inquiry on allegations made by losing bidders such as the Filinvest Development Corp. of the Gotianun family and Singapore’s Changi Airport group, that Megawide-GMR, were not qualified to bid for the project being built under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.
“The DOTC Pre-Qualification, Bids and Awards Committee has reportedly delayed awarding the project to any bidder, pending completion of the post-qualification review of the highest bidder for alleged violation of the rule against conflict of interest under the bid rules,” said del Mar’s group.
“It has been reported that the highest financial bidder through its affiliate and subsidiaries has controversial performance in airport development projects in Maldives and India where it passed on the project cost to the travelling public by changing them additional airport development fees on top of them passenger service fees,” said del Mar’s group.
Del Mar’s group also wanted Congress to look into reports that Megawide-GMR was “heavily indebted and has been incurring financial losses, a relevant issue that cannot be ignored because of its direct implication on the bidder’s financial capacity.”
The House probe would also focus on allegations that a Megawide official sat on the board of one of the six losing bidders which was deemed a conflict of interest situation.
Gullas’ HB 863 urged the House committees on good government and on transportation to jointly inquire into the circumstances surrounding the project’s stalled execution.
“We want the holdup resolved right away, so that the national government may finally receive the payment for the right to perform the project,” Gullas said.
Gullas said that the winning bid for the project would boost the National Treasury’s coffers.
The winner is expected to spend another P17.5 billion to build a world-class international terminal with an annual capacity of eight million passengers every year and expand and convert the existing terminal for domestic traffic. The winning bidder will run the terminal for 25 years.
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