Image from the Department of Transportation.

Updated, 12:52 p.m., Aug. 1, 2019

Food and infrastructure conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is set to bag the contract to build the country’s next international airport just outside Metro Manila.

The Department of Transportation said no one challenged the unsolicited offer of the Ramon Ang-led San Miguel Holdings Corp. before the deadline on July 31.

Under government procurement rules, a proponent who submits an unsolicited offer must undergo a “Swiss Challenge” from potential rivals and would only be given the contract if it matches a competitive counter-offer.

With no rivals for the construction, operation and maintenance of the international airport, work on the proposed Bulacan Airport, also called the “New Manila International Airport,” will begin before the end of the year, the transport department said.

San Miguel’s proposal costs P735.6 billion and involves a cooperation period of 50 years under a build-operate-transfer scheme.

Giovanni Lopez, head of the Bids and Awards Committee, said the notice of award to San Miguel would be issued soon.

“On the notice of award, there are some conditions that should be complied with. These include post-performance security, proof of commitment, among others as stated in the law. They (san Miguel) have 20 days to do so,” said Lopez.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said “This new international airport is important in helping ease the congestion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.”

“Together with the expansion of Clark Airport and the construction of additional facilities at Sangley Airport, Bulacan Airport is part of ‘baskets of solutions’ to bring further connectivity to the Filipino people,” Tugade said.

The transport department said the Bulacan Airport would have a capacity of 100 million passengers per year, which could be expanded to 200 million.

“With four parallel runways planned, it targets 240 aircraft movements per hour. The project will also include the construction of an 8.4-kilometer tollway that will connect the airport to the North Luzon Expressway in Marilao, Bulacan,” it said.

“The new international gateway is expected to be operational within four to six years from the start of construction,” it added.

In a separate statement, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center denied that it tried to stop the project.

“Earlier today, the PPP Center participated in the bid submission and opening of bids for the Project. The PPP Center is an observer and non-voting member of the Special Prequalification, Bids and Awards Committee. As already reported in the media, there were no challengers to the proposal of San Miguel Holdings Corp.,” it said. (