The so-called super consortium of leading conglomerates that was vying to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has lost its original proponent status (OPS), according to the Department of Transportation (DoTr).
In a text message on Wednesday night, Transportation Undersecretary Ruben Reinoso Jr. confirmed the NAIA Consortium’s loss of that status. He was yet to respond to request for details as of press time.
The consortium was originally composed of AC Infrastructure Holdings; Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., Alliance Global Group Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; JG Summit Holdings Inc.; and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which left the group in March because of unresolved issues over the draft concession agreement on the rehabilitation.
This came hours after Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd brushed off worries over the deadlock in the P102-billion project and said two more investors had expressed interest to pursue it. He did not name them.
“These two other proponents are willing to get into [an] agreement with the government [whose terms are] similar to the terms of the agreements between the project proponents of Clark [International] Airport and BCDA (Bases Conversion and Development Authority),” Dominguez said during a Pre-State of the Nation forum on Wednesday.
“We believe these two proponents are willing to step up to the plate here,” he added.
Asked if the government was already rejecting the consortium’s proposal, Dominguez replied that “we’re not setting aside the NAIA Consortium. They are the one setting aside, not us.”
His remarks come a day after the six-member group said in a joint disclosure that the government turned down most of its proposed options that were eyed to ensure that the project would be bankable despite the “new normal” ushered in by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
It could “only move forward with the NAIA project under the options it has proposed,” it added without elaborating further.
The consortium bagged the OPS in September 2018 for its offer to upgrade the country’s main gateway, which has been suffering from overcrowding.
NAIA was designed to accommodate 31 million passengers, but in 2017 it catered to 42 million passengers. This figure is expected to grow to around 47 million this year and to 52 million by 2022.