DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 Feb) – The Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is set to deliberate within the month the unsolicited proposal of the company owned by Davao-based business tycoon Dennis Uy for the construction of a P30-billion monorail project in Davao City.
NEDA 11 director Maria Lourdes Lim said in an interview that during the deliberation, the NEDA-ICC will look into the viability of the proposed intra-city urban rail transport system called “Davao City Mover Project,” which is seen as one of the solutions to ease the traffic congestion here.
“It’s usually during NEDA-ICC deliberations that the committee looks at the viability of the project and of course since this is an unsolicited proposal, meaning, there’s going to be an exposure of the private partner with the government,” she said, adding that a risk assessment matrix will be determined if it’s “not onerous on the part of government.”
The NEDA-ICC consists of the finance sectary as chairman; the NEDA director-general as co-chairman; and the executive secretary, secretaries of agriculture, trade and industry, budget and management, and the governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines as members.
The ICC is tasked to evaluate the fiscal, monetary and balance of payments implications of major national projects, and recommends to the President the timetable of their implementation on a regular basis; advise the President on matters related to the domestic and foreign borrowings program; and submit a status of the fiscal, monetary and balance of payments implications of major national projects.
Lim said that once the NEDA-ICC endorses its approval to the NEDA Board, the proposal will be placed under a Swiss Challenge, to be handled by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), which granted Udenna Corporation of Uy, a friend and campaign funder of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, with original proponent status for the monorail project.
As the original proponent, Lim said the Udenna Corporation has “a certain advantage because you are the original proponent” but added that the Swiss Challenge is “resorted to so that other possible bidders may come in, and outdo probably the proposal of the original proponent.”
“We may see a reduction in cost or better technology, better innovations than the original proponent’s documents. That really is the beauty of going through the Swiss Challenge,” she said.
Aside from Uy, the Korean Engineering Company submitted its unsolicited proposal in 2015 while Philtram/Maglev Vision Corp., in partnership with state-run China Railway Engineering Consulting Group Inc., in January 2017.
The intra-city urban rail transport system has been identified as one of the high-priority projects in the 27-year Infrastructure Modernization for Davao City (IM4Davao) to address traffic congestion.
Under IM4Davao, the first phase of the 15-km mass transit main line phase 1 will run from Davao-Bukidnon Road to J.P. Laurel Avenue Cor. R. Castillo St.
Other components of the railway, which are eyed to be completed by 2045, include a 6.6-km extension 1 (from Toril to Davao-Bukidnon Road); and construction and operationalization of 7.3-km extension 2 (from J.P. Laurel Avenue Cor. R. Castillo Street, to Mudiang, and to airport), 6.9-km spur line from J.P. Laurel Avenue to Tagum Digos Central Station, and 3.6-km spur line form Maharlika Highway and Junction of Davao-Bukidnon Road.
Uy’s firms Udenna and Chelsea Holdings created a consortium with China Telecom known as Mislatel that was officially declared as the country’s new major telco player after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) En Banc issued its confirmation order on November 19. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)