Three groups supported the Department of Transportation plan to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the development of airports in Sangley Point, Cavite and in Bulakan, Bulacan
Think tank Stratbase ADR Institute and citizen advocacy groups CitizenWatch Philippines and Bantay Konsyumer, Kalsada, Kuryente (BK3) in separate recent statements lauded the decision to go with the solicited route to rehabilitate NAIA
In addition, all three groups raised concern over Ombudsman’s dismissal orders against Manila International Airport Authority chief Cesar Chiong
Three groups supported the Department of Transportation (DOTr) plan to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the development of airports in Sangley Point, Cavite and in Bulakan, Bulacan.
Think tank Stratbase ADR Institute and citizen advocacy groups CitizenWatch Philippines and Bantay Konsyumer, Kalsada, Kuryente (BK3) in separate recent statements lauded the decision to go with the solicited route to rehabilitate NAIA under the amended Build-Operate-Transfer Law.
“Longstanding problems have hounded our primary gateway to the world, much to the disenfranchisement of local and foreign travelers alike,” Stratbase president Victor Andres Manhit said.
“With the approval of the solicited proposal to rehabilitate the NAIA, finally, the work can begin and the country’s issues of low traffic capacity and inadequate facilities, among others, can be addressed,” Manhit added.
Manhit said the government’s decision to go for the solicited bid equates to good governance through transparency and equal opportunity.
“Qualified bidders are able to present their proposals competitively, where the bid most advantageous to the government, addressing the needs it itself specified, eventually wins,” he noted.
CitizenWatch co-convenor Jose Christopher Belmonte said this mode “allows various competent investors to bid competitively and provide the best options in which to complete the project founded on their track record and expertise in the field.”
“The soliciting body then – in this case, the Philippine government – is able to make decisions according to what is good and optimal for its purposes,” Belmonte added.
The National Economic and Development Authority Board last July approved the proposal for a P170.6-billion solicited NAIA public-private partnership project over the P267-billion unsolicited proposal put forward by the Manila International Airport Consortium.
The private concessionaire under the approved solicited proposal will be granted a 15-year concession period to invest in modern air traffic control equipment, rehabilitate runways and taxiways, and improve existing terminal facilities. The concession period may be extended for another 10 years.
The project also aims to increase the current annual capacity of NAIA from 35 million to at least 62 million passengers annually, and increase air traffic movement from 40 to 48 per hour.
DOTr and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) recently opened bidding for the contract to rehabilitate and operate NAIA.
Meantime, all three groups raised concern over the recent Ombudsman decision to dismiss MIAA chief Cesar Chiong and assistant general manager Irene Montalbo for grave abuse of authority. MIAA operates NAIA.
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“We hope that there will be a deeper probe into this case based on solid evidence and that the accusers should not hide behind anonymity if their charges have real basis,” Stratbase’s Manhit said.
BK3 secretary general Patrick Climaco said they find it strange that the only basis for the order was a letter without the signature or name of the accusers.
Chiong and Montalbo were placed under preventative suspension for six months by an Ombudsman order dated April 28. They are accused of reassigning 285 MIAA employees in less than a year since Chiong assumed position in July 2022. The complaint was filed by anonymous MIAA officials.
The Ombudsman said reassigning employees to different divisions of MIAA and different positions “constitute willful disregard of the rules on reassignment and designation as laid down by the Civil Service Commission.”
Chiong said the reassignment of employees was part of his “plan to improve airport efficiency and the financial standing of the authority.”