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MANILA – Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles has urged the Department of Transportation and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to deny Megawide Construction Corporation’s proposed expansion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) since its consortium partner is no longer interested with the project.

In a statement on Thursday, Nograles bared that the Indian infrastructural conglomerate GMR Group is no longer part of the consortium of Megawide which entered into contract with government to expand NAIA.

“The NAIA proposal is no longer with GMR-Megawide but with Megawide alone. GMR will not put a cent to the project. Government is aware of this. In fact, it was MIAA who informed the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on August 13 of that fact,” said Nograles, representative of PBA Party-list.

Norgrales has called out the leadership of MIAA since despite MIAA’s clear knowledge that GMR is no longer involved in the expansion project, it still decided to proceed with the P107-billion project with Megawide which would ultimately turn the NAIA into privately run airport for the next 25 years.

The lawmaker warned the proceeding with the project despite the withdrawal of the Indian conglomerate would only cost “higher terminal fees and other airport services.”

He noted that last August 24, the National Economic Development Authority’s (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) asked MIAA formally flagging Megawide as having inadequate equity for the project.

The ICC noted that Megawide is far too stretched in financing their current projects as it is, and much more so for the proposed P107-billion project.

Nograles said that even the Public-Private Partnership Center (PPP Center), which was created to facilitate the implementation of the country’s PPP Program and Projects, shared NEDA-ICC’s sentiments and also “red-flagged” Megawide’s financial capability.

“While the project is ambitious, the BOT Law is clear that any unsolicited proposal is only acceptable if the proponent has adequate capital. This expansion project does not only reek of corruption but it is also detrimental to public interest. I wonder what kind of magic spell was used to blur the minds of our DoTr and MIAA officials,” Nograles stressed.

Nograles said that DoTr and MIAA officials are obviously in a rush to push for the implementation of the project that it even ignored the legal requirements for the MIAA management to conduct a stakeholder’s consultation that would include employees and existing concessionaires before awarding the contract to Megawide.

Instead of complying, the MIAA management simply advised NEDA-ICC that the consultation will be the responsibility of the winning contractor and not the MIAA.

“It is shameful that the MIAA is betraying its own employees by refusing to conduct stakeholder consultation on the project. That issue was also flagged by NEDA ICC yet the reply of MIAA is to pass on the responsibility to the proponent after the proponent is awarded the contract,” Nograles pointed out.

“It is therefore very alarming that your office negotiated and approved that there will be no minimum equity requirements on the part of the project proponent. This accommodation was not extended to the previous mega-consortium, and may be considered in violation of Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for giving unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference to a private party,” said Nograles. (CMC)

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