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Osmeña doing right on airport project

01:21 AM June 04, 2014

I read the letter of Napoleon B. de la Torres Jr. (Opinion, 5/19/14) attacking Sen. Sergio Osmeña III on the issue of the new Mactan-Cebu International Airport. De la Torres criticized Osmeña for going to the Supreme Court in an attempt to stop the award of the contract to Megawide-GMR consortium.

While the bidding process conducted by the Department of Transportation and Communications may be “fair and square” as De la Torres believes it was, the issue is on the capability of the winning consortium to undertake the multibillion-peso project. The issues on finance and performance must be addressed.

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I appreciate what Senator Osmeña is doing, which redounds to the benefit not only of Cebu but of the whole country as well. Indeed, it is important that the Philippines is assured that the consortium has the needed capability to deliver not only in the construction of the new international airport in the Visayas, but also in its operations for the next 25 years of its concession.

Moreover, also important is that the new Mactan-Cebu International Airport would still be a good airport after 25 years of operations, or at the time it is turned over to the national government.

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Thus, it is better to delay the airport project in Cebu and be sure of its quality than to be sorry later. To convince ourselves that this is what we should do, all we have to do is to see what happened to the graft-ridden Naia Terminal 3 with all the defects—ceilings falling down and a multilevel parking building that cannot be used due to safety issues. This project was undertaken by Piatco in the late 1990s and completed many years later amid all the issues that reached the Supreme Court. Until today, Terminal 3 is not yet 100-percent finished, and its deficiencies are still being corrected.

Between the Megawide-GMR consortium or the Filinvest-Changi consortium, it is obvious that the latter can do a far better job, given the track record of Changi Airport in Singapore. This is a no-brainer!

The extra P400 billion that the national government will be paid for a concession of 25 years by the winning consortium is not that important as choosing the right company to do the right job. Hands down, I will go for the Singaporean Changi Airports Group that includes its Changi Airport International. All you have to do is read on the airports around the world that they are involved in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changi_Airport_Group.

—R. B. RAMOS,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Airport Project, Changi Airport International, Department of Transportation and Communications, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Megawide-GMR consortium, Napoleon B. de la Torres Jr., Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, Supreme Court
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