Unresolved commercial issues have prompted the government to defer the Aug. 28 bidding for its first airport public private partnership (PPP) deal—the Mactan-Cebu International Airport—as it seeks to avoid a repeat of the poor reception seen during the bidding for the Light Rail Transit Line-1 extension, government officials and Inquirer sources said on Tuesday.
The government is finalizing the key concession agreement to take into account recent one-on-one sessions with seven prequalified bidders and a draft could be ready this Friday, PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao told the INQUIRER.
The P17.5-billion rehabilitation, expansion and operation project includes the construction of a new world-class international passenger terminal building that can handle eight million passengers a year, double the Mactan-Cebu airport’s current capacity.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said separately that the government would give the private sector at least 30 days to prepare once the concession agreement has been issued, which could place the bid openings around the end of September.
However, Canilao said some of the bidders had requested more time, from 45 days to 75 days. She noted that the DoTC, which is implementing the project, would decide on the final date.
“There were varied concerns and clarifications from different bidders on the technical and financial aspects,” Canilao said.
Among these, she noted, were minimum performance and specification standards as well as commercial issues like Duty Free operations, local government unit actions and real property taxes.
Three bidders interviewed by the INQUIRER, but on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss strategies with the media, said the delay was caused by the lack of clarity on several commercial issues.
They said the technical aspects have “mostly been answered.”
Other bidders sought clarification on the operations of the Duty Free store, a potentially significant revenue source, as well as restrictions on developing property within the airport complex.
Duty Free stores in the countries are operated by the Department of Tourism, based on Republic Act 9593.