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Megawide appeals status revocation by MIAA

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

MEGAWIDE Construction Corp. and its foreign partner GMR Infrastructure Ltd. asked the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) board to reconsider its decision to revoke its original proponent status for the P109-billion rehabilitation of the country’s main gateway.

“Yes, this morning (we submitted the letter) to MIAA and the Department of Transportation,” Megawide Corporate Communications Officer Anna Karenina M. Salgado told BusinessWorld in a Viber message on Monday.

In a Dec. 21 letter addressed to MIAA chairman and members of the board of directors, the consortium’s representative and Megawide Director Manuel Louie B. Ferrer said they had submitted additional documents such as its 2019 audited financial statements, joint and solidary agreement executed by the consortium members, latest company profile of GMR, and a revised computation of the tandem’s financial qualifications to prove its capability to undertake the project.

Mr. Ferrer said the decision by the MIAA board to revoke its original proponent status for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) rehabilitation project on Dec. 4 “naturally was based on an incomplete set of facts or documents.”

“As a result, the decision should be reconsidered in light of new and material information addressing the very issue raised prompting MIAA’s decision,” he added.

Mr. Ferrer said the consortium would finance the project through a combination of 70% debt worth P76.1 billion and 30% equity amounting to P32.6 billion.

“We respectfully point out as well that since the government had negotiated with the earlier proponents — otherwise known as the ‘super consortium’ — for two years, it would be in keeping with good practice and fair play for us to be also afforded a reasonable period within which to negotiate with the government and submit all the necessary documents to show our capabilities,” Mr. Ferrer said.

The so-called “super consortium’’ was composed of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc; AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; and JG Summit Holdings, Inc. The group obtained its original proponent status in September 2018, but this was revoked in July.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said at a Senate hearing last week Megawide-GMR was not yet totally out of the picture.

MIAA General Manager Eddie V. Monreal said at the same hearing that once the agency receives the formal appeal letter from the tandem, the board will make its final decision.

Mr. Monreal also disclosed that two more companies, such as Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions, Inc. and San Miguel Corp. (SMC), are interested in the rehabilitation of the NAIA.

San Miguel President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said his company’s proposal is only to operate and maintain the main gateway.

“Our proposal is brought on only by the need to have it running effectively and safely for the Filipino people, until our Bulacan airport project is up,” he said last week.

Mr. Ang said the government would benefit more from the sale or development of the NAIA property, potentially earning as much as P2 trillion from the sale of the 646-hectare complex.

Terry L. Ridon, convenor of infrastructure-oriented think tank Infrawatch PH, said in an e-mailed statement on Monday that MIAA should reject proposals to operate and manage the NAIA.

“Aside from not bringing anything new to the table, it will not transform NAIA into a world-class airport all Filipinos can pride themselves in. More importantly, any O&M proposal will only duplicate the already good work the agency has been undertaking in operating the airport, despite no government funding and reliant only on internally generated income,” he said.

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