SC asked to halt Mactan airport rehab

By , on November 4, 2014

The Supreme Court of the Philippines building in Manila, Philippines. Photo by Mike Gonzalez / Wikimedia Commons.
The Supreme Court of the Philippines building in Manila, Philippines. Photo by Mike Gonzalez / Wikimedia Commons.

MANILA – A group of businessmen urged the Supreme Court on Monday to stop a private group from pushing through with the expansion and rehabilitation project for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).The project was awarded by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) last April.

Business for Progress Movement (BPM), led by president Medardo Deacosta Jr., said that the winning bidder, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., is not financially capable of finishing the project. This may lead to “grave and irreparable injury” to the general public once the project starts.

In its petition, BPM said that the consortium made up of Megawide Construction Corp. and India-based GMA Infrastructure Ltd., will need to increase the terminal fees and other costs at the airport in order to compensate for the expansion and operating costs.

BPM added that GMR’s revenues were badly affected when they lost a $500-million contract to upgrade Maldives’ Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in 2012.

“The above-mentioned circumstances put in serious doubt the financial capability of [GMR-Megawide] to commence the rehabilitation and expansion project of the MCIA. Since [GMR-Megawide] has no financial capacity to start the rehabilitation of MCIA, both [DOTC and GMR-Megawide] had come up with the scheme of imposing an increased rate of terminal fees to cover the operating costs and expansion of the project,” the petitioner said.

The MCIA Authority already proposed to increase the terminal fees for domestic passengers from P200 to P300. Meanwhile, for international passengers, they need to pay P750 from the original cost of P550.

Out of the amount that the passengers will shell out, at least P181 will go directly to the consortium with MCIA getting P76.40, whereas P353 from the proposed international terminal fee will go to the consortium and P143.80 for MCIA.

According to DOTC, passengers who will use MCIA should expect improvements such as faster passenger processing and new lavatories in three months’ time.

This project is in line with the P17.5 billion public-private partnership (PPP) agreement of MCIA with Megawide and GMR Infrastructure.

Aside from this, Megawide-GMR is looking at building a new passenger terminal by 2018. The existing passenger terminal will be renovated and open by 2019. This will allow MCIA to increase the number of passengers that they can accommodate to 12.5 million from 4.5 million.

“One of the first improvements will equip the immigration section with passport readers and computers and will relocate it to a larger area. This will shorten queuing time and maximize the use of airport space,” the DOTC said.

It added, “These include simple enhancements such as importing new seats for the waiting areas and rehabilitating comfort rooms. In addition, an air-conditioned room will be constructed at the arrival area to accommodate greeters and well-wishers.”