Laguindingan int’l airport project to be rolled out before yearend

THE OPERATION and maintenance (O&M) project of Laguindingan International Airport in Misamis Oriental-
– one of 22 priority projects under the government’s centerpiece private-public partnership (PPP) program — will be submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) this month in hopes of having it rolled out before the year ends, officials said.

PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao said it will be ready for submission to the NEDA before the end of this month.

Project structure, she explained, involves “duties and obligations that will be asked by the government of the private sector.”

Once such terms are finalized, the project will be “appraised by NEDA Investment Coordination Committee”, after which it will be “further evaluated by the NEDA Board”, which is headed by President Benigno Simeon S.C. Aquino III, for final approval.

Ms. Canilao clarified that “while it (Laguindingan airport O&M) is not part of the eight priority projects for this year that we announced, it is one of the projects that we foresee to be rolled out this year.”

Specifically asked on a prospective publication of an invitation for bidders before the year ends, she said, “I think that is possible because the Laguindingan O&M is a simpler project.”

Transportation Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II is also confident that an actual auction for the project could be held within the year. “It will be this year because the development of the airport is expected to be finished by the end of the year,” he said, referring to the P7.85-billion rehabilitation of the airport. “So, there should be an operator when it is ready.”

Roxas earlier said the rollout for the $34.9 million-O&M project would take place “by the middle of the year.”

Conglomerates Metro Pacific Investments Corp., San Miguel Corp. and Ayala Corp. have previously aired their interest in the project.

Since the PPP program was first presented to investors in the fourth quarter of 2010, only one project has been awarded, so far: Ayala Corp.’s P1.956-billion Daanghari-Southern Luzon Expressway Link Road.

Since the year began, only two other projects have been rolled out by the government: the P10.04-billion school infrastructure project last January and the P60-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite extension and O&M just last month.

In a separate development, William K. Hotchkiss III, the newly appointed director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, told reporters in a briefing yesterday that the agency started implementing last Friday a system that prevents commercial planes bound for Manila from anywhere in the country from taking off from their airport of origin until they are informed of a slot on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) runway.

The purpose of this “coordinated arrival slotting system”, he said, “is to reduce flights placed on holding patterns by the air traffic control until safe landing spaces are available.”

“This would also result in significant savings for airlines because airplanes such as an Airbus A320 burns fuel worth about P7,000 per minute on a holding pattern,” Hotchkiss added.

The move, Roxas said in the same briefing, is in line with government efforts to decongest NAIA which has been forced to accommodate “more than 50” take-offs and landings per hour, way above its capacity of 36, resulting in flight delays.—Wire reports

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