4 railway, airport projects move forward

INITIATIVES to boost road and air transport facilities in the country are gaining momentum after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) approved last week the conduct of feasibility studies for railway projects in Luzon and Mindanao, as well as the conduct of bidding for airport development projects in the Visayas and Mindanao.

On Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, the DOTr invited bidders for the Antique Airport Development Project in Western Visayas and the Bukidnon Airport Development Project in Northern Mindanao.

The agency said the P270.46 million Antique project involves site development and extension of the runway including drainage system, which must be completed in 360 calendar days.

As for the Bukidnon project, it is a P77.59 million project to build a perimeter fence over a period of 300 calendar days.

The agency will hold a pre-bid conference for prospective bidders of both projects on March 1, ahead of the March 14 deadline for the submission of bids.

The DOTr has allocated P500 million under its Aviation Infrastructure Program for 2023 to upgrade the Antique airport so it can accommodate more flights and passengers.

As for the Bukidnon airport, its development began in 2018.

In the first quarter of 2022, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines awarded the P958 million Phase 3 of the project — which involved making the passenger terminal building, runway strip, runway extension and runway markings — to the Tokwing Construction Corp./Mamsar Construction and Industrial Corp. joint venture.

Revolving fund

Also on Friday, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Planning and Project Development Leonel de Velez said the Public-Private Partnership Center (PPP Center) Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF) Committee had approved that day funding of P100 million each for the conduct of feasibility studies for the San Mateo Railway and the Northern Mindanao Railway projects.

The San Mateo Railway will connect San Mateo, Rizal and Rodriguez, Rizal with the rest of the metropolitan railways in the National Capital Region, de Velez said in a statement.

The Northern Mindanao Railway, on the other hand, will initially serve the metropolitan area of Cagayan de Oro up to Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental. But it is envisioned to eventually connect with the rest of the Mindanao Railway System, de Velez said.

The PDMF is structured as a revolving fund whose general objective is to provide a facility to fund and facilitate pre-investment activities of potential PPP projects such as undertaking the pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, and develop viable PPP projects for local government units (LGUs) and implementing agencies, according to the PPP Center.

“On successful completion of the bidding process, the project development cost would be recovered from the successful bidder plus an administrative fee of 10 percent,” the PPP Center said.

The PPP Center is the central coordinating and monitoring agency for all PPP projects in the Philippines. Among its functions are enabling implementing agencies in all aspects of project preparation; managing of the PDMF; and providing technical assistance to government agencies, government-owned and -controlled corporations, government financial institutions, state universities and colleges, and LGUs to help develop and implement critical infrastructure and other development projects.

The PPP Center is the secretariat of the PPP Governing Board, which is the overall policy-making body for all PPP-related matters, including the PDMF.

The Board is led by the socio-economic planning secretary as chairman, finance secretary as vice chairman; with the executive secretary, secretaries of budget, justice and trade and the private sector co-chairman of the National Competitiveness Council as members.