By Lorenz S. Marasigan, August 5, 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to Business Mirror

SHOULD the government grant the multibillion-peso unsolicited proposal of Naia Consortium sometime this year, the group can deliver the first phase of the facility’s expansion in just over two years.

The Naia Consortium is a team of Filipino conglomerates that has offered to rehab and expand the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Naia Consortium Spokesman Jose Emmanuel P. Reverente said his group is eager to start expanding the country’s primary gateway to help ease air travel in and out of the capital.

“We are ready to start construction right after we get the notice to proceed and deliver the first phase of expanding the Naia’s capacity by 2020,” he said.

Reverente called on the government to fast-track the approvals process, as “time is of the essence,” given that based on a survey, more than half of Filipinos are hopeful that air hub will be rehabilitated and retained.

“We can make this hope and dream into a reality in just two years from notice to proceed issuance,” Reverente said.

The group’s initial proposal involves a P350-billion investment that will bring the Naia’s capacity from 35 million passengers per annum to 47 million passengers per year, and then bring it to a total capacity of 65 million by 2022.

The airport handled about 42 million passengers in 2017.

Reverente noted his group can act quickly because it already has the design, the funds, the technical partner (Changi Airport) and the manpower.

“We see a Naia that has more space to make flying a pleasant and memorable experience, just like when we go through airports abroad, including the one in Singapore, which Changi Airport operates,” he added.

Reverente said “every year’s delay will cost the country opportunity losses in terms of trade, investments and tourism, and the jobs they will generate, among others.”

The Consortium’s proposal, he noted, does not need any government guarantee, suggesting that, as a privately funded deal, the government can use instead its funds for other projects like building roads, bridges, schools and offering other social services like free education.

Currently, the group is awaiting the grant of the original proponent status to the group.

Being granted an original proponent status will give the proponent a competitive advantage against its would-be competitors during the competitive challenge for the project.

Under the implementing rules and regulations of the build-operate-transfer law, the government must place unsolicited proposals to a Swiss challenge, which, in a nutshell, is a legal process of inviting other groups to bid for an unsolicited deal.

The original proponent then has the right to submit a counteroffer. After receiving the original proponent status, the company and the implementing agency will then enter into an exclusive negotiations process to further polish the offer to be more beneficial to the state and the public.

The offer will then be subject to the approval of several bodies under the National Economic and Development Authority, including the Neda Board, which is chaired by President Duterte.

Once it gets the green light from the Neda Board, the project will then undergo the Swiss challenge, which usually takes 60 days to complete.