Gov’t: Pending cases not dampening investors’ confidence in PPP

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Gov’t: Pending cases not dampening investors’ confidence in PPP
Investors are assured that legal remedies are available and a level playing field is in place to bid for major infrastructure projects

MANILA, Philippines – The Aquino administration is confident that investors would continue to participate in the bidding of major infrastructure projects despite the cases filed by losing and disqualified bidders.

Both foreign and local investors are aware about the legal remedies available to bidders of public-private partnership (PPP) projects, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a text message, Thursday, July 3.

Investors would continue to look at major infrastructure projects to be undertaken by various government agencies through the PPP scheme, Abaya added.

The government would continue to ensure a level playing field in the bidding of major infrastructure projects, Abaya cited.

“What is important to keep the faith of all the bidders is the assurance and the perception that the field continues to remain level,” Abaya said.

Pending cases

Among the contested major infrastructure projects include the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3. The Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) stopped DOTC from acquiring 48 train cars for the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT 3) to expand the rail system’s capacity.

On January 30, Makati RTC granted the petition of Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) and Metro Rail Transit Holdings by issuing a 20-day “temporary order of protection” against DOTC.

The order bars the agency from purchasing light rail vehicles (LRVs) from Chinese firm CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Company.

On February 17,  Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. CNR Group of China said it had the capability – both in financial capacity and expertise – to supply 48 brand new trains for the MRT3 along EDSA as part of a P3.8-billion ($87.24 million*) contract.

On June 23, the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) junked SM Prime Holdings Inc.’s (SMPHI) application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction on the proposed P1.4-billion ($32.09 million) Metro Rail Transit-Light Rail Transit (MRT-LRT) common station.

The common station, a provision in the P64.9 billion ($1.49 billion) LRT 1 Cavite extension project, will connect LRT 1 from Baclaran to Monumento; MRT 3 from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City; and the proposed MRT 7 of conglomerate San Miguel Corporation. MRT 7 will run from Caloocan City and pass through Lagro and Fairview, Novaliches, Batasan, Diliman, Philcoa, before ending at EDSA.

In a 7-page order, Pasay City RTC Branch 111 presiding judge Wilhelmina Jorge-Wagan denied the application for TRO and writ of preliminary injunction sought by SMPHI against the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA).

Despite such, the SMPHI would still pursue the case against the government.

And on July 2, The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has indefinitely suspended the awarding of the P35.4 billion ($813.58 million) Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) project to the tandem of conglomerate Ayala Corporation and listed Aboitiz Equity Ventures.

The decision was made after disqualified bidder San Miguel Corporation (SMC), whose appeal was rejected by the DPWH several times, elevated the issue to Office of the President (OP).

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.

Team Orion of Ayala and Aboitiz Land Incorporated submitted on June 13 a concession payment of P11.66 billion ($267.91 million) for the PPP project. Disqualified Optimal Infrastructure Development Incorporated of SMC offered P20.11 billion ($461.78 million).

“[The] appeal has to be resolved first. That is their right to appeal directly with the Office of the President and there is nothing we can do,” DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said in a text message on July 2. –




($1 = P43.56)

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