Ayala, Aboitiz won't join Cavite-Laguna expressway rebid
MANILA, Philippines – Team Orion, the 50-50 joint venture of Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Inc. and Aboitiz Land is disappointed over Malacañang’s decision to rebid the Cavite-Laguna expressway (CALAX) project.
The conglomerates’ tandem was the accepted bid for the CALAX project at P11.65 billion ($259.03 million*).
The tandem would not oppose the rebidding of the public private partnership (PPP) project but would not join the process either.
“Team Orion is disappointed by the decision of the Office of the President to rebid the CALAX project. However, in the interest of national progress, Team Orion will not stand in the way of the CALAX rebid,” the tandem said in a statement.
Team Orion added that the Office of the President should conduct the rebidding immediately.
“We expect the rebidding to be conducted swiftly, above board, and in line with established bidding procedures in order to ensure that the government obtains the P20 billion ($444.59 million) it had assumed to gain,” the joint venture said in a statement.
San Miguel Corporation's (SMC) Optimal Infrastructure Development Inc. submitted a P20.1-billion ($446.93 million) bid but was disqualified by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) due to a non-compliant bid security.
San Miguel, owned by Ramon Ang, brought the case to the Office of the President. President Benigno Aquino III previously said he was open to rebidding the entire project, shocking the Ayala-Aboitiz partnership and triggering negative reactions from fund managers and think-tanks.
Thus, in a 14-page decision on November 19 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr, the Office of the President directed DPWH to rebid the CALAX project.
“The Office of the President found appropriate basis to the arguments raised by Optimal, thus, granted its appeal. The Office of the President then directed the Special Bids and Awards Committee of the DPWH to conduct a rebidding of the CALAX project,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma said in a statement on November 24.
Team Orion has yet to receive any formal notice from the Office of the President on the CALAX rebidding, Ayala Corporation managing director John Eric Francia previously said.
“We don’t want to overemphasize this but that is still the position of the company. We believe that the original bid was conducted in a fair and transparent manner. It just doesn’t make sense if we participate in the rebid,” Francia said.
Team Orion stressed though that it is supporting the construction of major road networks in the country to support economic growth.
“We can only hope that this vital road network will be built in the soonest possible time. Team Orion holds the view that the country should only move decisively and progressively forward in building the much-needed infrastructure the Filipino people deserve,” Team Orion said.
On the other hand, MP CALA Holdings has renewed the bid bond for the CALAX project as it awaits the terms and conditions of the rebidding, according to Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation President Ramoncito Fernandez.
The CALAX P35.4-billion ($787.02 million) project – a major public-private partnership under the Aquino administration – involves the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a 4-lane, 47-kilometer closed-system toll expressway connecting the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the Cavite Expressway. – Rappler.com
*($1 = P44.97)