Laguindingan attracts 2 possible challengers

AT LEAST two parties have expressed interest in the upgrade and operations contract for Laguindingan International Airport in northern Mindanao, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said. 

“There are two challengers, they have not submitted a counter proposal yet, but they have expressed interest,” Roberto C.O. Lim, Transportation undersecretary for aviation and airports, told reporters on Wednesday.

Mr. Lim made the announcement during the 2024 Aviation Summit organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

The two parties have paid the participation fees but have not yet submitted their counter proposal, he said.

In February, the DoTr announced that companies were open to challenge the P12.75-billion proposal of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. to operate, maintain, and expand Laguindingan.

“The Swiss challenge has started. We published yesterday the bid, the instruction to bidders that will identify the technical, financial eligibility,” Mr. Lim said.

The Swiss challenge process allows original proponents (OPs) to undertake a project unsolicited, opening up their bid to a challenge by other parties, which the OP then has a right to match.

The DoTr said if no parties end up formally challenging Aboitiz InfraCapital, the contract can be awarded to the OP within 90 days.

According to the guidelines to challengers published by the DoTr, a qualified challenger must have a net worth of at least P3.8 billion or its foreign currency equivalent.

“In case of a consortium, the net worth of consortium members who have an equity share of at least 25% each in the consortium may be added together,” the DoTr said.

The challenger must also have expertise in the operation and maintenance of an international airport, being involved in the industry for at least three consecutive years. The capacity of the airport it was previously involved in must be at least five million passengers yearly.

Aside from Laguindingan, the infrastructure arm of the Aboitiz group has also submitted unsolicited proposals for Bohol-Panglao International Airport and Bicol International Airport.

In 2022, Aboitiz InfraCapital finalized a deal with Megawide Construction Corp. and GMR Airports International, B.V., allowing it to acquire shares in GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., the company behind the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. — Ashley Erika O. Jose