Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Will Singapore firm finish NAIA-3?

By Joyce Pangco Pañares, Roy Pelovello, Macon Ramos Araneta
Manila Standard

THE government plans to tap the Singaporean firm CNA Group to finish Terminal-3 of the international airport after deciding to terminate the services of Japanese firm Takenaka Corp., an official said yesterday.

Alfonso Cusi, general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, made the statement even as President Arroyo signed into law an act creating the Civil Aviation Authority, which is aimed at boosting aviation standards.

The US Federal Aviation Administration lowered the Philippines’ aviation rating in December, and that put a crimp on Philippine Airlines’ plan to boost services in the United States, among other things.

The FAA downgraded the Philippines’ rating from Category 1—meaning it complies with international standards—to Category 2, which means it is deficient in one or more aviation standards.

At the House, Bacolod City Rep. Monico Puentebella, chairman of the transportation committee, said higher standards would see the Philippines’ return to a Category 1 rating.

Cusi said Takenaka last week asked to be allowed to finish the terminal, which has not been used because officials are questioning its soundness.

“About 20 sub-contractors of Takenaka have formed a consortium to be headed by the Singaporean group,” he said.

“If they are chosen, the price might even be lower than what was pegged by Takenaka because we now remove their profit value as the main contractor.”

CNA, a Takenaka sub-contractor, is among Singapore’s top 50 companies and has completed big-ticket projects such as the Nanyang Polytechnic University and the Yangon International Airport.

The group is now expanding the Changi International Airport and Changi Prison Complex-B in Singapore.

Cusi said the airport authority’s board was “being very careful” about Takenaka’s request to finish Terminal-3.

“We have to study it carefully. This is already their third request, and it might amount to nothing again,” he said.

Cusi said the airport authority had already requested the Government Procurement Policy Board to rule on its motion to have another contractor designated for the terminal.

Airport officials had suspended Takenaka as the project’s contractor for refusing to acknowledge experts’ declaration of structural defects in the terminal after a portion of its ceiling collapsed in March 2006.

Takenaka is a sub-contractor of Philippine International Air Terminals Co., the consortium that won the contract to build the terminal in the mid-1990s.

But the Supreme Court rejected the contract in 2004 after finding the amendments on the original contract were grossly disadvantageous to the government.

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