SMC vows to pursue CALAX project
SMC is urging the government to consider its bid for the PhP35.4bn Cavite Laguna Expressway (CALAX) public private partnership deal ahead of a potential decision.
* Recall that there was a technical issue raised against SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure Development that its bid bond was only valid for 176 days instead of the required 180 days (pointed out by rival MPCALA Holdings—a JV of AC and MPI).
* SMC’s bid though was fully compliant as attested by ANZ Bank, which issued the certification, that the bid security was valid until November 29 that would make it 180 days.
* SMC wants the bidding process to continue and let the best bidder emerge as the project winner. They just want the one with the highest financial bid to win. If that is another party, then so be it.
* The conglomerate believes that some groups want them to be disqualified because they are “intimidated” since they are known to be aggressive in project bids such as that of the NAIA Expressway in 2013 (where they bid PhP11bn against just PhP305mn of the next highest bidder).
* SMC has always been committed to supporting the government’s privatization efforts by bidding on win win projects—that is, the government gets a good investment while the private party also benefits over the long haul with a good ROI.
* The 47-kilometer CALAX last June 2 drew bids from all four pre-qualified groups, which included Optimal Infrastructure Development, MPCALA Holdings, Malaysia’s MTD Group and Aboitiz Land Inc.
* SMC does not want the project to go the way of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway that was negotiated with the government but encountered several delays as its proponent (MPI Group also) had to improve its bid three times—meaning that the initial proposal was not the best option that could have been avoidedif it was bid out.
* SMC said that if they are disqualified from the bidding, it would be prepared to take legal action since they would not be party where the government/public might be again short-changed.
* The bidding involving some of the biggest companies in the country should be a matter that the PNOY government must take seriously since this is being watched by foreign investors. Also, insinuation that the government is favoring certain parties (i.e. the DPWH head is a former executive of one of the bidders, etc.) definitely goes against the “daang matuwid” campaign.
* At any rate, the government wants to announce the winning bidder for the CALAX PPP within the month. This is a critical piece in the infrastructure program thus it would be a pity if this again gets pushed back.