MANILA, Philippines — The rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), suffered another blow as the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) revoked the original proponent status (OPS) of engineering and infrastructure company Megawide Construction Corp. for its P109-billion unsolicited proposal to upgrade and transform the country’s main international gateway.
MIAA yesterday informed Megawide of the revocation of its OPS the same day the publicly-listed company disclosed that its OPS was still active.
In a letter dated Dec. 15 signed by MIAA corporate secretary Leonides Cruz, Megawide was informed of the revocation of its OPS.
“We wish to formally inform you that, in a meeting of the board of directors of the MIAA held on Dec. 4, 2020 and subsequently affirmed in the board meeting today, Dec. 15, 2020, the MIAA Board has resolved for the revocation of the original proponent status earlier granted to Megawide for its unsolicited proposal for the NAIA comprehensive capacity enhancement project,” the letter stated.
Megawide was awarded the OPS last July, after government talks bogged down with a super consortium which previously held the OPS for the NAIA rehabilitation project.
Megawide said earlier yesterday it still has the OPS for the NAIA rehabilitation project and has not received any formal notification from MIAA or the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) that its OPS for the NAIA rehabilitation project has been revoked.
“What we hear circulating in the media are merely hearsay, that the OPS of Megawide for the NAIA rehabilitation project has been revoked by MIAA, not by NEDA-ICC,” the company said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
“This being said, as far as Megawide is concerned, we reiterate that it still has the OPS for the NAIA rehabilitation project, and will continue to do so until a formal notification of such revocation is received by it,” it said.
Having the OPS gives a company or group the upper hand once a Swiss challenge is undertaken for a project.
In a mobile message last Saturday, Megawide chairman and CEO Edgar Saavedra said MIAA is still reviewing its documents, which shall then be forwarded to NEDA for approval.
“Too many detractors blocking the award, against the progress of our country. All they think about is self-interest,” he said.
Megawide, in a statement last Nov. 23, said it has complied with the additional requirements necessary to move forward its P109-billion unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate and transform the NAIA.
The company said it has submitted to the MIAA additional?documents, which includes the statement of joint solidary liability as?required by the NEDA.
To address NEDA’s financial requirements, Megawide entered into agreement with Indian?infrastructure giant GMR?Infrastructure Ltd., in which the Filipino engineering and infrastructure company will hold a controlling 60 percent interest while GMR will hold 40 percent to ensure “solid financial capability and delivering unparalleled global experience in airport design, construction and operations.”
The ICC-Cabinet Committee in a letter dated Nov. 19 said it has returned the submitted unsolicited proposal and project documents of Megawide in view of the findings of the ICC Secretariat’s evaluation that the proponent’s equity position is insufficient to finance the equity requirement of the proposed project.
Megawide was earlier hoping that the Swiss challenge for the project would be completed by the first quarter of next year.
Megawide and GMR’s proposal aims to increase NAIA’s current capacity of 30 million to 65 million passengers per year over a strategic and phased approach.
Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are targeted to see massive improvements, particularly in the first phases of the concession, enabling passengers to have efficient use of facilities, faster transactions and enjoy their stay in the terminals with better dining and retail experience.
Megawide and GMR will also construct an additional taxiway and include runway holding areas to allow planes to queue and depart at the soonest time that the runway is available to make air traffic significantly manageable.
Phases two and three of the plan will be dedicated to relocation and replication of existing facilities, developing a brand new international terminal, enhancing all parking and the introduction of a railway-based people-mover system.
A member of the House committee on economic affairs has called on Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to censure the management of Megawide for dragging President Duterte into its bid to reverse the decision of government to reject the OPS for the expansion of the NAIA.
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said Megawide is making it appear that the President is backing Megawide despite the position of the Department of Finance (DOF), NEDA and the board of directors of MIAA that it is not compliant with the requirements to continue enjoying the benefit of OPS for the NAIA expansion project.
Nograles also criticized Megawide for making a false claim that it was in consortium with Indian firm GMR when it submitted its unsolicited proposal to expand NAIA.
“It is a fact that GMR and Megawide only inked a deal on Nov. 11, 2020 to form a consortium for the NAIA project. The law is clear that you first form a consortium before you submit an unsolicited proposal. Based on official documents, Megawide submitted an unsolicited proposal in March 2018 without an equity sharing agreement with GMR, ” Nograles said.
He noted that in an unauthored story entitled “Duterte praises Megawide for work on Mactan-Cebu airport; firm eyes NAIA next” published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the article made it appear that the President is endorsing Megawide for the NAIA expansion project “despite its failure to comply with the requirement set by law and the decision of the NEDA-ICC and MIAA to turn down their unsolicited proposal.”
It turned out that the quotes attributed to the President in the article were all lifted from a speech that was delivered in Cebu in June 2018 during the inauguration of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2, Nograles said.
Nograles claimed the story was published in an obvious bid to downplay the joint letter issued by NEDA-ICC to Tugade formally rejecting the unsolicited proposal of Megawide. The three-page memo signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and NEDA Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua advised Tugade to return the NAIA expansion proposal to Megawide.
Nograles also noted that the story was run following newspaper reports that the MIAA board of directors has revoked the OPS of Megawide for the NAIA expansion deal.
This also came after the National Bureau of Investigation filed anti-dummy and graft charges against top officials of Megawide and the decision of MIAA director Leoncio Dakila Nakpil to withdraw and retract his assent to the MIAA Board Resolution granting OPS for Megawide.
“As a supporter of the President, I would like to point out that the direct quotations of the President are misleading since these pronouncements were done two years ago. In fact, in that very same speech, the President said, ‘walang transaction sa gobyerno, airports, MRT, highways, hindi dadating ‘yan sa table ko (no government transaction will reach my table). I do not. For the life of me.’ Using the President’s name for a government project is downright despicable and reeks of desperation, perhaps because recent articles published showed that the MIAA Board has cancelled the OPS of Megawide,” Nograles said.
“In his many years of public service, the President was never known to favor contractors and demands that public bidding through the correct processes be followed. The article puts a shade that the President favors a certain contractor, huwag naman ganyan. Please be fair to the President,” he added.
Sought for comment on Nograles’ statement, Megawide said it did receive positive comments from President Duterte just last November, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the Mactan-Cebu airport.
“Your impressive work in the development and operation of Mactan Cebu International Airport strongly affirms how dynamic public-private partnerships can lead to successful ventures that redound to the benefit of our people. With your expertise in airport management, we are able to offer a seamless and smooth experience for our international and domestic visitors,” Duterte said in his message to Megawide, a copy of which was furnished The STAR.