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‘Taint’ not cause of SCTEX review

/ 11:21 PM May 30, 2011

WE would like to clarify the news story titled “BCDA confirms review of SCTEX deal” (Inquirer, 5/25/11), which stated that “the privatization of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) was just one of several big-ticket projects being reviewed by the Aquino administration for being possibly ‘tainted by corruption.’”

The BCDA never said that the SCTEX concession agreement with the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) is being reviewed because it is “tainted by corruption.” Our reasons for the proposed review of the contract are clearly defined in the first paragraph of our press statement, issued on May 24, which states:

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“The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Manila North Tollways Corp., (MNTC) expressed openness to further review the Concession Agreement for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to come up with a private-public partnership (PPP) that would serve as a model for other PPPs. The contract between the BCDA and MNTC on the operations and maintenance of the SCTEX was signed last November 10 but has not yet become effective because the conditions precedent for its effectivity have not been fully delivered by both parties.

Notwithstanding, this review will be for the purpose of ‘maximizing benefits for both the government and private sector and for the greater interest of the public’.”

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BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova used the phrase “tainted by corruption” to refer to previous PPPs like the Naia Terminal 3 project, which he said failed because of the “lack of transparency and onerous modifications tainted by corruption which proved to be grossly disadvantageous to the government.”

Corruption, as alleged, is not the basis for revisiting the agreement. The old and the new boards of the BCDA decided to review the contract to maximize benefits for both the government and the private sector.

It is clear, therefore, that the review being considered by both parties is really a due diligence measure to ensure the success of the MNTC-BCDA partnership and to guarantee the optimization of mutual benefits from the project.—LEILANI BARLONGAY-MACASAET, manager, Public Affairs Department, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), 2/F Bonifacio Technology Center, 31st Street, Crescent Park West, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

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TAGS: BCDA, contracts, Government, SCTEX
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