THE privatization of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the main Philippine gateway, needs to be expedited in order to tap the private sector’s expertise and resources, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said.
In a statement on Thursday, the MAP called for the rehabilitation and operations of NAIA to be placed under private-sector management, and threw its support behind an “expeditious privatization,” whether via a solicited or unsolicited bidding process.
Signatories to the MAP statement were MAP President Benedicta Du-Baladad and MAP Infrastructure Committee Chairman Eduardo H. Yap.
“The MAP underscores the need to place the rehabilitation and operations of NAIA under private sector management, given its demonstrated capability and extensive resources in undertaking big-ticket complex public infrastructure projects,” the business group said.
“Privatization should be undertaken in an unassailable manner with full transparency, in accordance with best practices, existing laws and regulations which provide for both solicited and unsolicited competitive bidding processes, with the objective of yielding an expeditious process, time being of the essence, and contract terms and conditions in the best public interest,” it added.
Recently, the Department of Transportation and the Manila International Airport Authority submitted a joint proposal for a NAIA private-public partnership on a solicited basis to the National Economic and Development Authority.
Under the proposal, the winning bidder will be granted a 15-year concession period to operate the airport and recover its investment. Under the proposal, the project was costed at P141 billion.
Manila International Airport Consortium Director and Alliance Global, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Kevin L. Tan said that a 25-year concession is a more suitable period for NAIA’s rehabilitation.
According to the MAP, NAIA suffers from disadvantages like “tedious, inefficient and ineffective government bureaucratic processes, fiscal constraints, compounded by lack of management autonomy.”
“All of these administrative and operational constraints have detrimental effects, manifested in the perennial (poor) rating of NAIA among airports, and the recent power outages that effectively paralyzed airport operations to the great detriment of air travelers, tourism as well as trade and commerce,” the business group said.
“The MAP believes that a privatized NAIA can be free from red tape that slows down decision-making, and notes that clear-cut objectives encounter obstructive policies or practices that take years to change,” it added.
“The MAP believes in the competitive advantage of the National Capital Region (NCR) and its central business districts having access to a nearby city airport, believing further that a robust economy with burgeoning air travel supports a multi-airport system for a large catchment, such as NCR and its environs,” it said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave