Politics

DoTr turns to ADB support for EDSA Busway

2 Mins read
PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

By Ashley Erika O. Jose, Reporter

THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it is engaging the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for technical support for  the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) Busway project.

This comes after Megawide Construction Corp.’s (Megawide) unsolicited proposal was returned, Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista told reporters last week.

“We actually returned the proposal to them [Megawide] because there are information that we wanted to know more and clarify, and maybe because we see that it will be faster to do a solicited rather than unsolicited,” he said.

“It will be faster if we do solicited rather than unsolicited because if we do unsolicited based on the new PPP (Public-Private Partnership) Law, it prescribes a longer period for review of the proposal and then there is Swiss Challenge,” he said.

If the government opts for a solicited proposal, the terms of reference will already be defined, Mr. Bautista said, citing the bidding process for the operations and maintenance of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which is considered the fastest PPP project to progress from submission to an investment coordination committee for approval and concession agreement signing.

“Like we did with the airport, it took us less than a year from approval of the project to the award unlike if we take the unsolicited proposals, the Swiss Challenge alone takes 90 days to a year,” Mr. Bautista said.

“Actually we have already engaged the ADB to prepare the project. To prepare the business case, like we did in airport,” Mr. Bautista said.

Megawide Chief Executive Officer Edgar B. Saavedra said, however, that the company is still interested in the project.

“Potentially [we are interested] because it will complement [Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange],” he said.

PITX is the country’s first landport. It is operated by Megawide’s MWM Terminals, Inc. under a 35-year build-transfer-operate contract.

The EDSA Busway Project involves the financing, design, construction, procurement of low-carbon buses, route planning, and operations and maintenance of the busway.

Nigel Paul C. Villarete, senior adviser on PPP at the technical advisory group Libra Konsult, Inc., said a solicited scheme for public transportation is always a preferred option.

“Public transit always requires a considerable public investment component especially the roadways which do not have revenue potentials,” he said in a Viber message on Sunday.

“Whether solicited or unsolicited, it would need government subsidies and this is better managed if it’s the government who conducts the procurement through solicited mode.”

Rene S. Santiago, former president of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines, said the DoTr has already “boxed in” its route by engaging the ADB.

“DoTr has boxed itself into solicited mode, when it requested ADB assistance to formulate the bid documents.  I will be surprised if a bidder comes in — without requiring guaranteed fares and subsidy,” he said.