MANILA, Philippines – The rebidding of the controversial Cavite-Laguna expressway (CALAX) project was approved Monday, February 16, by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Benigno Aquino III.
The P35.4-billion ($799.38 million) project, with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as implementing agency, will undergo a revamped procurement process in June 2015, after the government learned its lessons from a previous bidding mired in controversies.
CALAX is a 47-kilometer expressway project which connects Bacoor and Kawit in Cavite and South Luzon Expressway areas.
The NEDA Board also approved the new floor price of P20.1 billion ($453.89 million*), the same as the submitted bid of San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) Optimal Infrastructure Development Incorporated. SMC subsidiary was disqualified last year due to a non-compliant bid security.
Team Orion, the 50-50 joint venture between Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Incorporated and Aboitiz Equity Ventures, the highest bidder at P11.66 billion ($263.30 million).
The SMC said its unit was fully compliant with the bid requirements for the toll road project as ANZ Bank issued a certification that the company’s bid security is valid until November 29. 2014. The diversified conglomerate brought the case to the Office of the President, which later ruled in favor of the conglomerate and offered a rebidding.
Team Orion will no longer participate in the rebidding after it expressed disappointment over Malacañang’s decision.
Transportation projects approved
Apart from CALAX, the NEDA Board on Monday also approved 5 other transportation infrastructure projects.
Among the approved projects are:
Panguil Bay bridge project – With the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as implementing agency, it involves the construction of bridge across Panguil Bay, connecting the city of Tangub in Misamis Occidental and the municipality of Tubod in Lanao Del Norte. The project’s total estimated cost is P5.09 billion ($114.94 million) to be fully financed by the government and targeted to be implemented starting this year until 2018.
Phase 1 of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project – This will be implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). It involves the construction of a 36.7-km narrow-gauge elevated commuter railway from Malolos, Bulacan to Tutuban, Manila.
The NSCR Phase 1 will use the Philippine National Railway’s (PNR) right-of-way with 10 stations and a depot at Valenzuela City. The project’s total estimated cost is P117.30 billion ($2.65 billion) and targeted to be implemented from 2015 with a 35-year operation period starting 2020.
North-South railway project (south line) – This is a public-private partnership (PPP) project of the DOTC, which a total estimated cost of P170.70 billion ($3.86 billion). This project consists of commuter railway operations between Tutuban and Calamba, Laguna; a long-haul railway operation between Tutuban and Legaspi, Albay; branch line between Calamba and Batangas; and an extension between Legaspi and Matnog.
3 PPP projects green lighted
The NEDA Board also approved 2 more PPP projects apart from CALAX.
Expansion of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) project – A DPWH project, the expansion includes from two (one lane per direction) to 4 lanes (two lanes per direction), which entails an estimated government support of P2 billion ($45.18 million).
The full project cost for TPLEX Ultimate Stage is P24.30 billion ($548.91 million) for the design, financing, construction, operations and maintenance (O&M) of the 88.5-km expressway from the terminus of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) in Tarlac City to Rosario, La Union.
The government is slated to return the management, and O&M rights of SCTEX to the Manila North Tollways Corporation, which is obligated to operate and manage SCTEX for 33 years, while relieving the infrastructure owner, Bases Conversion and Development Authority’s (BCDA) debt with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which will mature in 2041.
North Luzon expressway-South Luzon expressway (NLEX-SLEX) connector road project – A project of the DPWH with a total estimated cost of P20 billion ($452.19 million). It will now proceed through unsolicited mode subject to a Swiss Challenge and involves the construction and O&M of a 13.4-km, 4-lane elevated expressway over the PNR right-of-way, which starts in Caloocan City and ends in Buendia, Makati. This will connect the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and SLEX to decongest traffic in Metro Manila.
NEDA Director-General Arsenio M. Balisacan said the projects approved by the Board will support the government’s goal of increasing infrastructure spending to at least 5.1% in 2016.
“We hope that they will be implemented efficiently and effectively,” said Balisacan.
The Aquino administration is hit for its underspending, particularly in vital infrastructure. – Rappler.com
US$1 = P44.25