TACLOBAN CITY – The construction of the new passenger terminal at Daniel Z. Romualdez airport that would upgrade its status into an international airport in 2025 is already past its contract deadline but the accomplishment remains just over halfway causing economic losses to the region.

Members of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Eastern Visayas are already wary of the continuous delay and are now urging the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to terminate the contract with the joint venture handling the project.

In an approved resolution, RDC-8’s Regional Project Monitoring Committee urged the CAAP central office to terminate its contract with the joint venture of MAC Builders and ML Builders Inc. for the construction of the PHP 670-million new passenger terminal.

The committee is also asking CAAP central office to deny any request for another extension to the already revised deadline of September 1, 2023.

RDC private sector representative Buenaventura Go-Soco, who is a former regional director of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in Eastern Visayas, said the passenger terminal project is the second biggest infrastructure project in terms of economic impact that was implemented in the region.

“Other than the San Juanico bridge, this is the biggest multi-billion-peso project this region has ever had in terms of financial cost and potential economic impact. There is a huge cost to the economy each day this Tacloban Airport Development Project is delayed. And yet CAAP is hesitating to terminate the contract of the culprit,” Go-Soco.

Go-Soco is the proponent of the resolution unanimously approved at the committee level and is expected to be approved during the full council meeting later this month.

During the problem-solving session of the committee last July 11, representatives from the CAAP central office admitted that the physical accomplishment of the project was only 55.86 percent as of July 7 with a negative slippage of 29.45 percent based on the revised completion of September 1, 2023.

The project started on December 5, 2020 with an original contract duration of 540 calendar days or a target date of completion last May 31, 2022. The original contract amount was PHP 699,161,531.24.

In his resolution, Go-Soco said under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, the procuring entity shall terminate a contract for default if, due to contractor’s fault, it has incurred a negative slippage of 15% or more, incurred 10% negative slippage or more after contract time, or if the contract flagrantly neglects to carry out its obligations under the contract. He said the members of the committee pointed out failure and negligence of the joint venture to ensure completion of the project within schedule “causing loss of investments, especially in the tourism sector, and other economic opportunities” in Eastern Visayas. By Elmer Recuerdo (EV Mail July 31-August 6, 2023 issue)