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SMC, Clark airport projects fast-tracks review process

San Miguel Corporation’s unsolicited proposal to put up a P700-billion airport in Bulacan is moving up the review and approval process by the technical board of the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC), the country’s economic planning head said.

“It’s with NEDA now. It’s been undergoing ICC technical board process. That is an example of an unsolicited proposal that was given original proponent status,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia.

“If the ICC technical board comes out with good results, it’s likely to be approved by the ICC Cabinet Committee. Then it goes to the NEDA Board, then there will be a Swiss challenge,” he added.

He said the technical board is expected to complete the assessment by December as SMC submitted all the requirements and has agreed to the conditions for unsolicited proposals.

“There will be no subsidy, guarantee and flight allocations. They will just have to compete,” said Pernia.

He said this is a good example of government awarding big-ticket projects to the private sector on condition that the projects are of good quality and can match the speed of execution of projects implemented using government funds and official development assistance (ODA).

Pernia said the government would accept unsolicited proposals for large infrastructure projects but would demand the projects break ground within a minimum of 18 months and be subject to conditions such as non-provision of subsidies or guarantees. The proposal will still have to be subjected to a Swiss challenge.

The oft-used example is the construction of a new terminal building in the Clark International Airport which is now in the advanced stages of the procurement process and is expected to break ground this quarter. The construction would be financed using government funds, while the operations and maintenance (O&M) component will be auctioned off to the private sector.

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