Cebu reps want probe on bidding

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Saturday, February 15, 2014


CEBUANO congressmen want an inquiry on the questions hounding the bidding of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA).

Reps. Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north), Joseph “Ace” Durano (Cebu, 5th district), Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th district), Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), Aileen Radaza (Lapu-Lapu City), Rodrigo Abellanos (Cebu City, south district) and Wilfredo Caminero (Cebu, 2nd district) co-sponsored House Resolution No. 782.
It was submitted last Monday.

The resolution directs the committee on transportation “to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the complaints of conflict of interest and questionable financial capacity and other possible violations on qualification requirements against the highest financial bidder in the bidding for the MCIA terminal Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project.”

The three-page resolution did not name the corporation under fire. But it was already reported that the consortium of GMR Infrastructure Ltd. of India and Megawide Corp. is the highest financial bidder with an offer of P14.4 billion-development.

Del Mar told Sun.Star Cebu that paid advertisements from the Concerned Citizens of Cebu are worth looking into because the issues raised were supported by facts.

According to the group, Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, which GRM developed through a PPP, had to pass on airport project cost to passengers by imposing a development fee on top of the passenger service fee.

GMR is also reportedly in debt and had an airport project canceled in Maldives.
The congressmen took notice.

“It has also been reported that the highest financial bidder through its affiliates and subsidiaries has controversial performance in airport development projects in the Maldives and India where it passed on the project cost to the traveling public by charging them additional airport development fees on top of the passenger service fees,” the resolution read.

Reps. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing (Cebu, 6th district) and Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. (Cebu, 1st district) were included in the draft resolution but del Mar said they were not able to sign the final paper.

Resolution

Gullas will reportedly file his own resolution.

Megawide issued a statement with the concurrence of GMR’s Manish Khalghatgi, which read in part, “We emphasize the fact that we have always acted in good faith and have always observed all rules and regulations in relation to the bidding.”

Megawide denied any conflict of interest and said that the issues raised were irrelevant in the pre-qualification bidding conducted.

Del Mar said the congressmen merely want to resolve the issue at the soonest possible time because the construction of a new terminal at the MCIAA as well as the airport renovation is important in the City’s economic development.

They believe that the issues raised are worth looking into. Otherwise, more problems would crop up when the contract is finally awarded.

Megawide hopes there would be no external interference while the pre-bidding and awards committee is in the process of coming up with a recommendation on the contract to privatize and upgrade the airport.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 15, 2014.

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