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[MANILA] The Philippines will offer for tender next year six airport projects worth 116 billion pesos (US$2.6 billion) under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme to help upgrade the country's ageing infrastructure.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) invited investors to pre-qualify and bid for contracts to develop, operate and maintain airports in key cities and tourist hubs in the central and southern Philippines.
"The fact that the traffic at these airports has either exceeded their current design capacities or is nearing the design capacity levels, coupled with the anticipated influx of growing number of domestic and international passengers in years to come, make the fast and proactive development of these airports crucial," DOTC said in a published notice.
With white sandy beaches and tropical weather, the Philippines wants to attract 10 million foreign tourists by 2016 from a target of more than 6 million this year to boost one of Asia's fastest growing economies.
Up for bidding next year are concession contracts to operate and expand the Davao International Airport for 40.6 billion pesos, the Iloilo International Airport for 30.4 billion pesos, the Bacolod-Silay International Airport for 20.3 billion pesos and the Laguindingan Airport for 14.6 billion pesos.
The four airports served 7.7 million passengers last year, DOTC data showed.
The operations and maintenance for the 4.6 billion peso New Bohol Airport and the 5.8 billion peso Puerto Princesa Airport will be turned over to the private sector upon completion of the construction. Existing airports in Puerto Princesa and Bohol handled a combined 2.1 million passengers last year.
The DOTC said the government would combine two or more airport projects when they open them for bidding to make them more attractive to investors.
San Miguel Corp, JG Summit Holdings Inc, Megawide Construction Corp and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc have expressed interest to bid for the airport projects in the provinces to diversify their revenues.
Since launching the PPP programme in 2010, the government has awarded eight infrastructure projects worth around 127.5 billion pesos consisting of toll roads, schools, an automated fare collection system, a railroad and a hospital.
In October, Philippine President Benigno Aquino gave the go-ahead for US$3.7 billion worth of new infrastructure projects to upgrade ageing roads, airports and ports.