Support NAIA rehab


There’s a growing displeasure over efforts to delay the NAIA rehabilitation project. NAIA is an old airport and has not undergone any repair for a very long time.

Upgrading NAIA would address congestion and allow more movements in commerce which would favor the economy. Besides, the project is to be undertaken by a reputable Philippine construction firm—Megawide—which built the globally renowned Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Construction of the said airport was completed with flying colors. No other than President Duterte lauded the result of the project. “I am most proud to be a worker of a government that has produced something this beautiful and this good for the people,” Duterte said.

Despite this, a major potential delay for the NAIA project is being caused by Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Partylist Congressman Jericho Nograles who has made numerous public announcements seen as a scheme to further delay and prevent the Megawide consortium from securing and completing the NAIA project.

Recently, with the NBI, he questioned potential foreign ownership violations in the consortium that manages the MCIA. In September, he made a claim that Indian-based GMR Group — a longtime partner of Megawide crucial to completing the P109 billion capital needed — suddenly pulled out of the NAIA deal.

In response, Megawide said, “As widely-held, publicly listed companies, Megawide and GMR strictly adhere to all pertinent laws, rules, and regulations, especially relating to public infrastructure projects bidded by the Philippine national government. We have done so at the MCIA and will continue to do so for the rehabilitation and transformation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.”

Nothing wrong with the intention. It’s the timing that isn’t right.
Micro, small and medium size in the enterprises in the construction sector are barely surviving the covid 19 pandemic. Yet, they’re hearing bills calling for further opening up of the local construction industry.

If said bills are not tell-tale signs of doomsday for the small builders, they don’t know how to call them.

The Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines and other business organizations recently told the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entteprenuership it would be “untimely” to add more players to the local construction market amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as proposed by Senate Bill 1008 and its related bills that seek to lift restrictions on the entry of foreign players to the domestic construction industry.

The CIAP is chaired by Department of Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez, and counts as its Board members, Labor and Employment Sec. Silvestre Bello III, Public Works and Highways Sec. Mark Villar, and Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade, and the chairpersons of the four implementing Boards under the Authority, plus a private sector representative.

“MSMEs comprising 97% of registered contractors who are reeling from the debilitating effects of the pandemic will further be subjected to foreign competitors whose wider supply chain networks and support from their respective governments will put them at a disadvantage,” noted CIAP in its 13-page position paper.

The Society of Philippine Electrotechnical Constructors and Suppliers Inc. (SPECS) comprised of licensed electrical construction companies pointed out that “without the necessary safeguards and programs to develop and strengthen the local industry, it would have an adverse impact on our members, most of whom are MSMEs.”

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