Ayala-Aboitiz tandem offers highest bid for Cavite-Laguna project

Ayala-Aboitiz tandem offers highest bid for Cavite-Laguna project
The partnership’s bid is P11.66 billion. Disqualified bidder San Miguel makes a higher offer at P20.11 billion

MANILA, Philippines – The tandem of conglomerate Ayala Corporation and listed Aboitiz Equity Ventures has made the highest offer for the P35.4-billion ($808-million) Cavite-Laguna (Calax) expressway project.

Team Orion of Ayala and Aboitiz Land Incorporated submitted Friday, June 13, a concession payment of P11.66 billion ($ 266.24 million) for the public-private partnership (PPP) project.

MPCALA Holdings Incorporated of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) submitted a bid of P11.33 billion ($ 258.72 million), while Malaysian-owned Alloy MTD Philippines was far third with P922 million ($21.06 million).

The disqualified San Miguel Corporation offered P20.11 billion ($ 459.12 million).

The Calax project involves the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a 4-lane, 47-km closed-system toll expressway connecting the South Luzon Expressway and the Cavite Expressway.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DWPH) Undersecretary Rafael Yabut said the agency’s special bids and awards committee (SBAC) is expected to evaluate the financial bids of the 3 bidders before issuing a Notice of Award next week.

About 20% of the financial bid would have to be paid by the declared winner upon the signing of the 35-year concession contract, while the 80% balance would be payable over the next 10 years.

SMC is not giving up

DPWH’s SBAC disqualified SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure Development Incorporated after it failed to comply with the bidding rules, particularly on the validity of its bid security.

The 3 bidders questioned the validity of Optimal Infrastructure’s bid security, as well as the packaging and labeling of its proposal, prompting DPWH to defer the bids opening for the Public Private Partnership (PPP) project.

Yabut denied Friday, June 13, the manifestation made by SMC head of treasury services Raoul Eduardo Romulo to open the financial envelop of Optimal Infrastructure that contained a bid of P20.11 billion.

SMC did not accept the return of its technical and financial envelopes and said such would remain sealed under the custody and accountability of DPWH while they is studying all its legal options.

“To manifest Optimal Infrastructure’s sincere participation in this project, we are attaching an exact duplicate of the P20.105 billion concession payment as our bid amount,” Romulo said in a letter to Yabut.

Romulo told reporters after the opening of the financial bids that SMC would study all its legal options.

“The people right now know what our bid was. We have disclosed it to the public. Personally, I feel bad for the Filipino people because it is in essence…ours was a very aggressive and competitive bid as you have seen,” he told reporters.

“The republic and the DPWH would have been the alternate beneficiary here. Unfortunately because of a mere typographical error, which they have allowed in the other bids, we were not given that leeway. It’s a sad day for us, but we hope that the remedies will see us through,” Yabut added.

SMC earlier said Optimal Infrastructure had already clarified the issues raised by the other bidders concerning its compliance with the bidding rules, particularly the validity of its bid security.

SMC also said its unit is fully compliant with the bid requirements for the toll road project as ANZ Bank has issued a certification that the company’s bid security is valid until November 29.

SMC tried to open its sealed financial bid before the media but was prevented by DPWH officials.

SMC representatives were asked to leave the DPWH premises.

Protecting integrity

Despite the better financial bid of SMC, there was a need to protect the integrity of the bidding process as the SMC unit was disqualified on June 11 by the DPWH’s SBAC, PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said in an interview.

“The SBAC decided that the security (of SMC) is imperfect so the committee disqualified the company. In this case, the highest complying bid is Team Orion,” Canilao said.

Canilao added DPWH only followed the bidding rules in disqualifying SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure.

“We need to protect the integrity of the process and the program. We need to look at the bigger picture rather than this particular project,” Canilao stressed.

The PPP Center head said SMC could still file a motion for reconsideration before the Office of the President or the Office of the Secretary of the DPWH just like what they did in the bidding for the P1.72-billion ($ 39.28-million) Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) ticketing project. Rappler.com

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