Press Release
September 15, 2006


After its victory in the take-over of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA-3), the government should concentrate its efforts in getting the best price for the mothballed facility, Senator Mar Roxas said.

The chairman of the Senate committees on trade and commerce and on economic affairs said the take-over, which would finally lead to the operation of the facility after years of being unused, is a victory not only for the government but also for the people who have long been longing for a world-class airport terminal.

While we are jubilant for the recent victory in possessing NAIA-3, we should now make sure that this is not a pyrrhic victory, he said.

The Solicitor General, the Secretary of Trade and all other government officials involved in the take-over of NAIA-3 should make sure that the price the government will pay is the right price, he said.

Roxas believes that the operation of the mothballed terminal will help increase foreign travel into the Philippines, leading to more growth in the tourism sector. It will signal our intent to modernize and stay in step with the rest of the world, the senator noted.

Pasay City RTC Branch 117 Judge Jesus Mupas recently released the writ of possession, effectively setting the stage for the full government control of NAIA-3. This, after the government paid roughly P3 billion to the Philippine International Air Terminal Co. Inc (Piatco), the consortium that won the NAIA-3 contract in 1996.

Roxas explained that the P3 billion (roughly $60 million) the government paid to Piatco was just the initial, partial payment the Pasay Regional Trial Court ordered the government to pay Piatco as just compensation.

Piatco wants the government to pay $565 million for the facility, while the original bid price was $350 million. The senator believes that the price of the facility is around $350 million.

The government should not be made to pay more than what is just, he said.

The senator recalled that the government did not honor its contract with Piatco, saying that the project is marred with graft. The Supreme Court in 2002 invalidated Piatcos contract with the government, saying that the deal was fraught with irregularities.

Meanwhile, Roxas prodded the Solicitor-General to check with the Pasay Regional Trial Court the progress of court-appointed valuators, who have yet to come up with a valuation of the mothballed facility.

The three-man commission, composed of former public works secretary Fiorello Estuar, former Commission on Audit chief Sonfronio Ursal and former Air Force pilot Angelo Panganiban, failed to meet its May 22,2006 deadline.

Roxas also recalled that the government had previously planned to get three independent and reputable foreign engineering appraisers to provide three reasonable estimates as to the cost of the NAIA 3.

Getting multiple calculations from different assessors, and then pegging the cost at the midpoint of those valuations, is the same method used by international agencies such as the United Nations to determine a project cost.

At that time, the government was willing to pay any amount representing the midpoint of the three estimates or valuations but PIATCO rejected the idea of involving independent and reputable foreign engineering appraisers, Roxas pointed out.

When he was Trade secretary, Roxas led a team of Cabinet members tasked by President Arroyo to work for an amicable settlement of the NAIA-3 issue.

The government has a legal and moral obligation to ensure that the compensation involved is just and fair to all parties including the Filipino people, he said.

Like all Filipinos, I look forward to having a new international airport facility that will make air travel easier not only for Filipinos but also for foreign tourists, he said.

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