MANILA, Philippines – The Aquino government is on a roll.
Two days after putting the P60-billion Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 extension project on the auction block, it announced it will now open the bidding process for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway II, another major infrastructure project under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.
PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao told Rappler in a phone interview they may issue the invitation to pre-qualify and bid for NAIA expressway II as early as next week.
“We will start the bidding process within June. Actually, the DPWH’s (Department of Public Ways and Highways) target is to issue the invitation within next week.”
Asked when the actual bidding will take place, Canilao said, “Most probably in November.”
The project was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority on May 30, giving DPWH the green light to bid it out.
“The PPP Center congratulates the DPWH for rolling out one of the country’s mega infrastructure projects under the PPP program of government. This is indeed an achievement for the DPWH and the program itself. We knew that it could work and now we are seeing projects being rolled out. We are confident that we will hit our target of 8 projects for 2012.”
The project involves the maintenance and improvement of the existing NAIA expressway phase I, and the construction of phase II and the extension road leading to Pagcor’s casino and tourism complex on Manila Bay, the Entertainment City.
The total length is 9.37 kilometers, consisting of 7.15 kilometers elevated portion of phases I and II, and 2.22 kilometers road to the Pagcor development.
This is the third big-ticket infrastructure project under PPP that the Aquino government rolled out since it launched the economic program in 2010. The first was the P2-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) road link that was awarded to the Ayala group. The second was LRT-1 extension to Cavite province.
Canilao said NAIA expressway II will help link and ease traffic going to and from the 3 NAIA terminals in Manila. She said it will also seamlessly link the SLEx-Skyway to the Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway and both Roxas and Macapagal boulevards.
The government had initially listed 10 PPP projects for bidding in 2010.
The contract to operate and manage LRT-1 and another major railway, the Metro Rail Transit 3, was supposed to have been the first to be bid out, but then newly appointed DOTC Secretary Manuel Roxas decided to shelve it to review if it was more beneficial for government to keep it. The government ended up bidding out the Daanghari-SLEx road instead.
Between 2010 and 2012, the government opened the bidding process for two projects that were not originally in the list: the P10-billion classroom building program of the Department of Education, and the P453-million vaccine self-sufficiency project of the Department of Health.
The government is banking on the rollout of the big PPPs to help the economy grow beyond its target of 5% to 6%.
The economy grew 6.4% in the first quarter, much faster than the 3.9% growth registered in 2011. Underspending on infrastructure and weak exports dragged down the growth last year. – Rappler.com
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