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Four groups bid for $810 million Philippine toll road project

MANILA -- Four groups, including Malaysia's MTD Capital, on Monday submitted bids for the biggest toll road project offered by the Aquino administration to date.

Members of the bidding committee seal the tenders of the four parties competing to build a four-lane expressway connecting Cavite and Laguna provinces to Manila.

     Technical and financial tenders were also submitted by local companies San Miguel, Metro Pacific Investments and a consortium led by the Ayala and Aboitiz groups for the 35.43-billion-peso ($810 million) public-private partnership project.

     The project calls for the construction of a 44.6km, four-lane, toll way linking the industrialized provinces of Cavite and Laguna to the Philippine capital.

     The Philippine Public Works department will evaluate technical proposals in the next four days. Financial offers of those who passed the technical evaluation may be opened this Friday, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson told reporters on the sidelines of the auction.

     The winning bidder will be determined based on who asks for the lowest state subsidy or who offers the highest payment to the government on top of shouldering the construction cost.

     Awarding is expected within this month, Singson said.

     The winning bidder will operate the road and collect fees for 35 years, after which the expressway will be turned over to the government.

     Since 2010, the administration has awarded around $1.3 billion worth of PPP deals to construct toll roads, classrooms, a hospital, an airport and the installation of a ticketing system for Manila's railways.

     Last week, the government auctioned off a $1.5-billion railway project, which attracted an Ayala-Metro Pacific consortium as sole bidder.

     The PPP program is meant to address the Philippines' infrastructure backlog.

     Around $20 billion worth of projects are still to be auctioned off, according to Cosette Canilao, PPP Center executive director. 

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