The privatization of the expansion and O&M (operation and maintenance) of the Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) in Panglao town moved another step closer to realization after the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the unsolicited proposal for the undertaking.
The NEDA Board chaired by President Duterte and vice-chaired by Boholano Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia gave the green light after earlier revisions on the proposal were made.
NEDA, through a statement, announced the approval of the unsolicited proposal along with the go-ahead of several other big-ticket projects which amounted to a total of P187.34 billion on Friday.
“Five out of seven of these new projects will be implemented outside the National Capital Region. This shows that the administration is committed to develop growth centers in the regions and maximize the economic benefits of connectivity of communities,” said Pernia.
Pernia after the bid for the BPIA’s O&M and expansion hurdled a review from the NEDA’s Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) earlier this month said that several revisions were made to the proposal which prolonged the approval process.
“It took almost a year just to pass the O&M for the Bohol Panglao International Airport and that’s because it goes through so many iterations,” Pernia said in a previous press conference.
“We want to make sure also that we won’t get sued when we are out of office already. There’s always a danger when you’re not so careful in dealing with projects,” he added.
The ICC-CabCom on November 6 approved the privatization of the P8.9-billion facility’s O&M under a 25-year concession period.
The BPIA which prides itself of being the “Green Gate to the World” as the very first eco-airport in the country, has drawn flak from the public for the lack of amenities and concessionaires such as restaurants.
Former governor and now First District Rep. Edgar Chatto earlier described the airport as still “bare,” saying that it will soon be replete with restaurants and other establishments with the takeover of a private group from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The new management is also expected to better maintain the BPIA and look after its cleanliness.
“Kanang dagway sa atong airport karon, bare pa na kung imong tan-awon kay ang atong CAAP dili man sila maoy mo manage niini mao na wa sila namutang og mga aesthetics,” he said in an earlier interview.
Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. (AIC), the infrastructure arm of the Aboitiz Group, which is poised to take over the BPIA’s operations has earlier noted that it plans to spend an estimated P27 billion on the facility.
The project however will still be subjected to a Swiss challenge wherein other firms may challenge AIC’s bid. AIC as original proponent may match the best bid from challengers.