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A Philippine inter-agency panel chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday it has approved for auction a 74.56 billion pesos ($1.56 billion) contract to overhaul Manila’s over-stretched international airport.
It is the largest of nine infrastructure projects totalling 171.14 billion pesos ($3.59 billion) approved by the government to boost growth in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
The Philippines is upgrading old roads, ports and airports to further stimulate the economy and to meet a long-overdue need for an infrastructure revamp to maintain competitiveness.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport development is the first public-private partnership (PPP) project approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Board since Duterte assumed office on June 30.
The winning bidder will improve and upgrade operational efficiencies both landside and airside at all four terminals -excluding air traffic services – to meet international aviation standards, the PPP Center said in a statement.
Economists have long said the Philippines is an attractive destination for investors, but its infrastructure – once among the most advanced in the region – has become a logistical headache as the economy and population expand rapidly.
Airlines and passengers suffer chronic delays because of congestion at the airport, which served 36 million passengers last year, compared with its designed capacity of 31.5 million, data from the PPP Center showed.
Conglomerates JG Summit Holdings Inc and Filinvest Development Corp, as well as Megawide Construction Corp are interested in bidding for the project, officials at those companies said.
To date, there are 12 airport, prison, road and rail projects worth more than 400 billion pesos under various stages of auction.
The government plans to spend 860.7 billion pesos on infrastructure projects in 2017 under the proposed budget, 13 percent more than this year.
Other approved projects include a rapid transit bus system and a flood-management project in the capital, and hospital modernisation in the provinces.