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Philippines rushing to auction US$2.76b worth of infrastructure projects
[MANILA] The Philippines is scrambling to auction eight infrastructure projects, mostly airports, worth a total of US$2.76 billion, before a leadership change in June, a top official said on Wednesday.
President Benigno Aquino, whose administration has awarded 12 deals worth US$4.3 billion under his flagship Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, will step down in June after a single six-year term, in line with a constitutional term limit. "If we do the bid submissions by the end of April or early May, we may still be able to award and sign the contracts by June 30," Andre Palacios, executive director of the PPP Centre, told reporters on the sidelines of a groundbreaking ceremony for a rail project.
The projects up for grabs are five regional airports valued at US$2.34 billion, a port modernisation project in the southern Philippines worth US$411 million, a US$6.5-million information technology project and a railway maintenance deal, Palacios said.
Six consortia, including conglomerates San Miguel Corp and Metro Pacific Investments Corp and their foreign partners, have expressed interest in the provincial airports.
Megawide Construction Corp and its partner, India's GMR Infrastructure Ltd, are interested in bidding for the airport projects, Louie Ferrer, Megawide chief marketing officer, told Reuters.
Last month, investors snubbed the bidding for a US$2.7-billion scheme to build an expressway and dike, and reclaim land, due to concerns over the project's viability and uncertainties over the political transition.
About 54 million Filipinos are eligible to vote in the May 9 elections, closely watched by investors, some of whom fear the political succession in one of Asia's fastest-growing economies could affect gains made under Aquino.