“Piliebers” plan airports and railways in the Philippines

Panglao Island International Airport

President Benigno Aquino wants to make the tourism sector one of the key drivers of the economy. 

In the air:

The Philippine government plans to upgrade 12 airports, including Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), as it seeks to attract 10 million foreign tourists by 2016 and help fuel one of Asia’s fastest growing economies. In 2013 the Philippines attracted 4.7 million foreign  300,000 short of the projected 5 million.

Rehabilitation of NAIA Terminal 1 will be completed by early 2015 at the latest, while the NAIA Terminal 3 will be fully-operational in July this year.

The Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan and Clark International Airport in Pampanga,  are among the gateways which the government wants to modernize and upgrade.

Transportation Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco also said  the transportation department is sticking with its end-March target to award the 17.52 billion-peso PPP* contract for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal.

* Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center executive director Cosette Canilao, meanwhile, has denied pre-empting the announcement of the DOTC on the awarding of the multi-billion-peso contract. A special committee is still studying the issues raised by the Filinvest Group against Megawide and its Indian partner.

On the rails:

There seem to be 3 railway projects in the heads of the DOTC directors. A subway system that would link the cities of Makati, Taguig and Pasay. A “north-south commuter line” that would connect Malolos, Bulacan, to Calamba, Laguna via a 90-kilometer railway. And finally the Light Rail Transit Line 1 extension to Dasmariñas, Cavite.
The subway system would cost PHP 135 billions, the “north-south commuter line” is expected to cost PHP 285 billions, the LRT Line 1 extension is estimated at PHP 65 billions. That’s a lot of money – a big lot of money. Maybe the government proceeds with the plan to auction the PPP deals over the next two years, or before President Aquino steps down in 2016.

So far the Dreamers and “Piliebers”!

And now some facts:

In the air:

  • Domestic and international air traffic is stagnating. The time of the 10% increase per year lay in the past
  • Most of current airport projects are stuck in difficulties and non-achievement (Laguindingan, NAIA-3, Panglao, Cebu-Mactan)
  • Foreign investors and potential PPP partners remember the Fraport disaster
  • And then, the Philippines are still US Cat.2 and blacklisted in EU

There is not much change to expect in the next 12 to 24 months.

Panglao Island International Airport

On the rails:

  • The famous Bicol Express, a potential tourist attraction, is still interrupted, more than a year after a bridge collapsed
  • MRT and LRT are both at the limit of capacity

PNR Bicol Express

[Editor’s comment:] 10,000,000 tourists in 2016? Maybe? But where will they go? 1 million to Palawan, 8 millions to Boracay and 1 million somewhere else? When you read about the Philippines in world’s travel magazines, you always find: beautiful landscapes, very nice people but very difficult and dangerous to travel.
These magazines do not blame the Philippines for earthquakes and typhoons, but they know a lot about air-traffic safety, marine disasters and bus accidents. If the government created first a clean and independent traffic safety board and cleaned out all, but really all unsafe transportation companies, then they might start to dream.


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2 Responses

  1. Richi says:

    Aber, aber, Waebi, so böse über die Phil’s zu schreiben, die träumten schon immer, darum sind sie ja die besten und strengst arbeitenden vom der Rest der Welt!!!!!

  2. Barry says:

    Who knows when the Puerto Princesa “new” airport layout will happen?
    This doesn’t look promising :- “Last month, I wrote about how the Department of Transportation and Communications has also run into trouble in Puerto Princesa City, where, like in Cebu, it is bidding out the expansion of the local airport. I’ve been told that when one of the two bidders for the Puerto Princesa Airport Development Project, Korea-based Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd., pointed out to DOTC that its rival bidder was in a conflict-of-interest situation, the bright boys at the department simply ignored the complaint.

    Hanjin’s beef is that the other bidder, Kumho Industrial Co. Ltd., not only violated the terms of reference set by DOTC itself regarding such conflicts – Kumho also set a more expensive price for the work of upgrading the Palawan airport. (Hanjin and Kumho were the only companies qualified to bid for the project, because it is being funded by a Korean Eximbank loan.)

    In a letter last Dec. 5, Hanjin asked DOTC to disqualify Kumho for being in a conflict-of-interest situation because Incheon International Airport Corp. is a partner of Kumho in the recently bid out (but as yet unawarded) Mactan Cebu airport project and was also a DOTC consultant. The instructions to the bidders in both projects were clear that such conflicted partnerships were disallowed.

    Furthermore, according to Hanjin, its own offer for the Puerto Princesa project was $82.923 million, while Kumho bid $83.257 million for the same deal. In other words, Hanjin’s bid is lower than Kumho’s by $334,000 (about P15 million). This is a clear case of a bidder who offered to charge more securing a project, even if a rival bidder made a better offer and wasn’t even disqualified.

    Hanjin said DOTC compromised the integrity of the bidding process because the impartiality of the DOTC’s bids and awards committee was suspect, especially because it was assisted in the process by Incheon, which is the partner of another bidder.
    (Jojo Robles, Manila Standard Today, Feb 12 2014)
    (Political comment in original article deleted)

    Currently, the Airport Terminal frontage is being altered with a new drop off/ pick up road being built to provide space for the new tented arrival and departure areas. Cost P20 million.
    And 1 million tourists for Palawan? Not according to these figures ;
    “Regional Tourism Director Becky Labit said Puerto Princesa achieved growth rates of 23.36 percent in 2011 and 27 percent in 2012 but it dropped in 2013 from five to seven percent.”

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