DOTr to expedite Swiss challenge to the Bulacan airport proposal

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(file photo) Besides its desire to bid for the operation and maintenance of airports in the Visayas and Mindanao, SMC has also submitted a plan of an international airport in Metro Manila.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 18) — The transport department is set to meet with San Miguel Corporation on Monday to discuss details of the company's unsolicited proposal to build an international airport in Bulacan, a senior official said Tuesday.

The government hopes to subject the proposal to a Swiss challenge and award the contract by the end of the year or early next year, Transport Undersecretary Ruben Reinoso Jr. said in a press conference.

"The San Miguel Holdings Corporation submitted the revised concession agreement yesterday. It is now under review and we have scheduled another negotiation on Monday, September 24," Reinoso said.

SMC's unsolicited proposal was approved by the NEDA board on April 25. It is now set for the next step, the approval of the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC), which will forward the agreement to the President.

The ICC is chaired by the Finance Secretary and co-chaired by the Socioeconomic Secretary. Its members include the Secretaries of the trade, agriculture and budget departments, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor and the Executive Secretary.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is also simultaneously working on coming up with the terms for the bidding of the Bulacan airport, so that it will be ready once the concession agreement is approved,

"Simultaneously, we are now preparing for the Swiss challenge-- we are drafting the terms of reference with the minimum performance standards and specifications, the bid parameters as well as the the risk allocation matrix-- which form the core part of the tender documents for the Swiss challenge," Reinoso said.

When both documents are set, Reinoso said that he hopes that the contract to build the Bulacan international airport could be granted as early as the end of the year.

"Hopefully, if everything is agreed upon, the proponent can be granted final approval and award of contract by early next year or hopefully towards the end of this year.

READ: Government to prioritize SMC's Bulacan and Cavite's Sangley airport proposals

Reinoso said that they had also met with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) board Monday on the unsolicited proposals for the maintenance of existing airports, and had favorably recommended them for approval.