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DoTr turns to ADB support for airport partnership

L FILIPE C SOUSA-UNSPLASH

THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) is engaging the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for technical support in opening up the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to private companies seeking long-term contracts, an official said.

“We are engaging the Asian Development Bank to support us for the NAIA PPP (public-private partnership),” DoTr Assistant Secretary for Planning and Project Development Leonel Cray P. De Velez told BusinessWorld in an interview on Tuesday.

“They will provide technical support,” he noted, adding that the Transportation department is looking at solicited proposals for the rehabilitation and operation of the country’s main international airport.

According to its website, ADB provides PPP support in terms of developing “PPP frameworks and enabling policies to facilitate increased private sector investment and participation in the development and operations of infrastructure assets.”

It also provides transaction advisory services to both public and private sector clients.

Earlier, Megawide Construction Corp. said that it was ready to revive its proposal to rehabilitate NAIA. The company has turned its focus to railways and local government unit projects after the Manila International Airport Authority board rejected its appeal in 2021 to overturn the revocation of its original proponent status (OPS) for the airport project.

DoTr Secretary Jaime J. Bautista has said that the government hopes to modernize various airports in the country through PPPs, including Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Laguindingan International Airport, and Bicol International Airport, among others.

Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. holds OPS for the Bohol, Laguindingan, and Bicol airport projects.

“We are updating our submissions, as instructed by the DoTr, for those airport projects,” Aboitiz InfraCapital President and Chief Executive Officer Cosette V. Canilao said in a recent interview.

She said the Aboitiz group is also open to taking on more airport projects. “We can … if there are other airports that the government wants to improve via PPP.”

Aboitiz InfraCapital is set to acquire the Mactan Cebu International Airport concession for P25 billion.

In his first State of the Nation Address in July, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said his administration will “create more international airports to help decongest the bottleneck at the Manila airport.”

The Cavite province has been pushing for the development of the Sangley airport as an alternative to NAIA as demand for air transport is expected to increase in the next 30 to 40 years.

Meanwhile, land development work at the San Miguel group’s P735-billion New Manila International Airport in Bulacan province was 42% complete as of November, according to the DoTr. “Target full completion of land development is December 2024,” the department said in a statement. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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