Editorial cartoon by Romy Castro

REPORTS have it that Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is keen on participating in the P74.6-billion private partnership project (PPP) contract to modernize Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the country’s premier gateway.

MPIC is headed by fund manager Manuel V. Pangilinan who according to some sources is the legal front of Indonesia based billionaire Anthoni Salim in the country.

The NAIA project was recently approved by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) which was part of a plan to upgrade existing terminals in the country to increase capacity and handle operations in preparation for the expected increased arrivals of tourists in the next few years.

That Pangilinan is intent on bagging the big ticket project is indicative of his unrelenting drive to control almost every industry and sector of the country.

Salim’s group through Pangilinan already controls many vital Philippine businesses that include power distributor Meralco, telecommunications giant PLDT, along with Smart and Sun and also water services and supply though Maynilad.

They are also into transportation via the Manila North Tollways and Cavitex, which together make up the country’s largest tollway operator at 64 percent of the country’s toll roads.

Likewise, they are into health services having control of high end medical facilities like Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital and Asian Hospital in Alabang.

The group is also well-entrenched in the media industry having sizable shares at PDI, Philippine Star, Business World and majority controlling shares at TV 5.

It is imperative therefore that the Duterte government should be very careful and ensure that only the most deserving bidder would win in a competitive and legitimate process.

It would also help that the bids and awards committee be guided by the parameters earlier set by President Duterte on how he views and deals with some of the big businesses and businessmen in the country.

One such example was when he announced sometime last June that he will not take orders from anybody especially from a lackey of a foreign tycoon.

At that time, he was reacting to a statement of Pangilinan who suggested that the government should not stand in the way of businesses especially concerning their company’s upcoming projects and programs. 

We support the government’s objectives to cut growing congestion at the NAIA, which handled more than 36 million passengers last year which was way above its designed capacity of 31 million passengers.

But let it be said that the government also uses this chance to show to the world that it is not respecter of huge conglomerates that have insatiable lust for profits but is stickler to established lawful rules and procedures.



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Monday, 27 January 2020
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