Osmeña slams PPP official over Cebu airport deal

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

SENATOR Sergio Osmeña III on Thursday slammed an official of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center for preempting the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) in relation to the awarding of the 25-year expansion of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) expansion project.

Osmeña said it was "highly irregular" for PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao to announce that the DOTC is set to award the P17.5-billion project next week to the consortium of Filipino-owned company Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Infrastructure Ltd. of India.

"It is highly irregular that Ms. Canilao has taken it upon herself to speak with authority that the DOTC is set to award the project to GMR-Megawide before the end of the month, even prior to the PBAC's (Prequalification Bids and Awards Committee) submission of its findings and recommendations to the MCIAA Board," Osmeña said in a statement.

In a newspaper report, Canilao said the DOTC intends to meet its end-March deadline.

Osmeña, vice chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, has questioned the bidding process undertaken by the DOTC for the MCIA venture, citing the financial capability of GMR to carry out the airport project.

"Sinabi ko sa DOTC, unless you prove to me that you did your homework, at gumawa kayo ng talagang deep inspection sa lahat ng mga bidders, may questions ako kung ibibigay niyo ito sa GMR. Sapagkat itong GMR, talagang napakabaho ang background nila sa India," the senator earlier said.

"This and many other points about GMR's questionable financial standing and operating record and its tie-up with Fraport still have to be resolved. And here's the PPP Executive Director jumping the gun on those authorized to speak about the awarding of the bid!" Osmeña said.

In a privilege speech last month, Osmeña also questioned GMR's partnership with German firm Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide, also known as Fraport, which has previously figured in the scandalous Piatco-NAIA 3 terminal project.

Sought for comment, Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Canilao's announcement is in line with Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla's commitment to the House of Representatives (HOR).

"I know a commitment was made by USec (Undersecretary) Lotilla in the HOR when pressed to give a date by representatives that the DOTC will endeavor to award within the month," Abaya told Sun.Star in a text message.

Osmeña earlier threatened to charge DOTC officials if the contract is awarded to GMR. (Sunnex)

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