MANILA, Philippines – Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC), listed DMCI Holdings Incorporated, and a consortium led by Filipino-owned Megawide Construction Corporated sought to qualify and bid for the Philippines’ first prison public-private partnership (PPP) deal: the P50.18-billion ($1.11 billion) regional prison facilities project.
The PPP Center announced Friday, June 26 that the 3 groups submitted prequalification documents for the proposed modern regional prison facilities to be built in a 500-hectare portion of Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. The project is being undertaken by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Prospective bidders are SMC’s subsidiary San Miguel Holdings Corporation; the parent firm of construction giant DM Consunji Incorporated; as well as the Mega Structure consortium composed of Megawide, Citicore Megawide Consortium Incorporated, and GMR Infrastructure Singapore Private Limited.
The tender for the 23-year, P50.18-billion ($1.11 billion) deal, involving the construction and development of a new prison facility, was launched in February. (READ: Should PH privatize prisons?)
This auction is part of government’s efforts to fix a problematic prison system that is the fourth most overcrowded in the world, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS).
The Philippines has 7 national prisons and more than 1,100 city, district, municipal, and provincial jails.
Prison population stood at 106,323 in 2012, the highest in the 12-year period reviewed by ICPS.
Through this PPP project, a new prison facility will be constructed to provide “adequate living spaces, facilities, and address the basic needs of inmates incarcerated in the existing penal facilities such as the New Bilibid Prison and the Correctional Institution for Women.”
The new facility will accommodate 26,880 inmates and will include staff housing, administrative buildings, and areas for rehabilitation (sports, work, and religious activity).
The winning bidder will finance, design, build, and maintain the prison facility for 23 years. It is targeted to accommodate nearly 27,000 inmates and staff.
Noting that the Philippine government has taken strides in replicating the prison infrastructure model of other countries, Manuel Louie Ferrer, Megawide’s corporate information officer earlier said: “We are interested in the prison PPP deal, as we find it as a smart opportunity to invest in.”
“If you look at Australia, the US, and Brazil, investing in prisons is profitable,” Ferrer added.
About 21,106 convicts at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City and 2,016 inmates at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City will be transferred in the new Nueva Ecija facility once the 3-year construction is completed.
The government plans to issue the notice of award on September 3 and start the construction of the project in March next year.
After the relocation of inmates at the New Bilibid Prison and Correctional Institution for Women, those facilities would then be “retained and used as training academies for DOJ-attached agencies, such as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Immigration,” former BuCor chief Franklin Jesus Bucayu early this year told reporters.
“This project is just one of the 3 regional prison facilities we are planning to put up under the PPP program. There will also be one in Mindanao and Visayas, but we are still studying on what the possible locations for those prison facilities will be,” Canilao told reporters.
The Aquino administration has already awarded 10 PPP projects since 2010 with a total indicative cost of P189 billion ($4.19 billion). – Rappler.com