Mactan airport terminal privatization may displace workers

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Thursday, April 24, 2014


CEBU - Some workers at the Mactan airport may have to go once a private consortium takes over the operation of its passenger terminal this October.

This, as Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete thanked all sectors, agencies and individuals who supported the project to privatize and expand the airport.

Last Tuesday, the Department of Transportation (DOTC), the MCIAA and the GMR-Megawide consortium signed a concession agreement for the privatization of the existing passenger terminal and the construction of a new one.

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The agreement signing came after the consortium paid P14.4 billion to the DOTC as part of the post-award requirements.

The MCIAA is set to submit a list of its employees to the GMR-Megawide consortium, which may offer jobs to qualified personnel.

60 days

The consortium, which will assume the passenger terminal’s operation 180 days after the agreement signing, has given the airport management 60 days to submit the names of its 580 employees.

Apart from winning the contract to operate and maintain the existing passenger terminal for 25 years, the consortium also won the bid to construct a new terminal building.

With the privatization of the existing passenger terminal, the MCIAA has come up with a new organizational plan that involves streamlining or eliminating some departments.

These include the domestic and international terminal operations units, the collections division and the public affairs office.

MCIAA Legal Officer Glenn Napuli, in an interview with reporters on Thursday, said the MCIAA may still be able to retain about 500 workers, among them the airport’s fire, medical and police personnel.

In a press conference, Villarete said qualified employees will be given the choice to work for the consortium or stay with the MCIAA.

Offer

“If I had my way, walay tangtangon (no employee will be fired),” he said.

Mary Ann Dimabayao, officer-in-charge of the MCIAA public affairs office, said she and her staff members have known of the reorganization plan since last year.

“My plan is to wait for the offer of the GMR-Megawide,” she told reporters.

There are nine employees under the public affairs office, but only four occupy permanent positions.

Napuli said employees whose services may be terminated during the reorganization of the MCIAA are not entitled to a separation pay under the law, but the airport management will request the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Controlled Corp. to grant separation pay to affected employees.

Benefits

Affected employees, however, will receive benefits from the Government Service Insurance System, Napuli said.

While the GMR-Megawide consortium will be the one operating and maintaining the existing passenger terminal starting October, Villarete said the MCIAA retains its ownership of the airport as well as its regulatory and monitoring powers.

Villarete said the GMR-Megawide consortium will start the construction of the new passenger terminal building next year. The consortium is given three years to complete the project.

Gratitude

Villarete expressed gratitude to all sectors and individuals who supported the project, saying it progressed faster than other big infrastructure projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) program of the Aquino administration.

“This has been a joint effort of many and not just a few,” he said. “We may not be able to mention everyone but we wish to express our thanks to all, who in one way or another, contributed to this achievement.”

He also thanked President Benigno Aquino III for including the Mactan airport expansion project in his priority projects.

Villarete gave credits to the Lapu-Lapu City Government, the Regional Development Council, the National Economic and Development Authority 7 and the DOTC.

He also acknowledged the Korea International Cooperation Agency and the Japan International Cooperation Agency for their technical assistance.

Villarete said only the Mactan airport expansion project attracted as many as seven bidders in the history of PPP in the country.

“This has been a very fulfilling project for me,” he said. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 25, 2014.

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