Home » Ports/Terminals » North Harbor privatization may yet be fast tracked

THE privatization of North Harbor could restart in the next few weeks. But this is only if partners Harbour Centre Port Terminals, Inc (HCPTI) and Metro Pacific Investment Corp agree to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) proposal to drop their court case against the state agency.

In a chance meeting between PPA general manager Atty. Oscar Sevilla and HCPTI senior vice president Edwin Jeremillo at last week’s 106th anniversary of the Bureau of Customs, Sevilla asked Jeremillo to drop the court case to restart with the privatization process.

The PPA chief said the contract to operate and manage North Harbor could have been awarded as early as October last year had it not been for the court case.

He added the issue should not have been brought to court in the first place considering HCPTI executed a waiver liberating the privatization process from any legal suit that may arise during the procedure.

He urged the immediate restarting of the privatization process to modernize the port, whose structural integrity is now in question.

HCPTI said it is open to an out-of-court settlement but that it needs to study the proposal first.

“We still maintain our petition filed before the court that the PPA should honor its earlier decisions. Nonetheless, we are not closing our doors to a possible agreement. It all depends on the proposal of the PPA to convince us to drop the case,” Jeremillo said.

Harbour Centre, the lone eligible bidder for the 25-year management and operation contract of the North Harbor, filed a case in August last year after the PPA Board decided that there should be at least two eligible bidders for the port. Thereafter the PPA Board declared a failure of bidding.

In December the PPA asked the Manila Regional Trial Court to hasten its decision on the suit, stressing that further delays could endanger the lives of people working in the structurally weak facility.

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