The decision of a Cabinet committee on the privatization of the Bohol Panglao International Airport’s (BPIA) operations and maintenance (O&M), which is seen to significantly improve the new P8.9-billion facility’s services, is now being awaited.
The unsolicited proposal for the BPIA was supposedly up for action from the Investment Coordination Committee – Cabinet Committee (ICC – CAbCom) within the last week of September, according to a statement from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The development came after the BPIA proposal hurdled a review by NEDA’s ICC – Technical Board (TB).
NEDA was expecting the Cabinet committee decision by the end of September for both the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) rehabilitation project and the BPIA privatization.
However, the ICC-CabCom had only approved the unsolicited Build-Operate-Transfer proposal for NAIA, based on a newer statement issued by NEDA on October 1.
The BPIA and NAIA projects are only among 20 unsolicited proposals that have been submitted to NEDA’s ICC as of Sept. 20.
“NEDA always ensures that these unsolicited proposals in our pipeline are carefully selected and thoroughly reviewed. Selected are those that fit into the goals and strategies of the government, as in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.
Earlier, Vice Governor Rene Relampagos expressed optimism that the privatization of the airport’s O&M will be completed in the first half of 2020 based on the statements of Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. (AIC), which sought an audience with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
AIC, the infra arm of the Aboitiz group, secured the original proponent status from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the BPIA on Sept. 3, 2018.
“Ingon sila [Aboitiz] na barring any hitches and everything will be in order possible maka operate sila by early next year,” Relampagos said in an interview last month.
The privatization of the BPIA’s O&M is projected to set in motion the upgrade of the airport’s amenities and bring in concessionaires including food establishments to the facility which has been drawing flack for its lagging service.
The BPIA will only be the country’s second privately run commercial airport next to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu if the privatization pushes through.
“Mao ny hinungdan na ang atong airport kung inyong makita wa yamo pay mga concessionaire diha kay dili man mahimo ang CAAP [Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines] tungod kay gi-privatize na man,” Relampagos added. “There will be more businesses that will be created once we go full blast sa atong airport.”