Speech of Scott Morris, ADB Vice-President (East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific), at the signing ceremony for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Concession Agreement, 18 March 2024, Manila, Philippines 

Honorable Secretary Bautista, Secretary Recto, Secretary Balisacan, Secretary Frasco, Ambassador  Lee Sang-hwa,  General Manager Ines, Senator Poe, representatives of the New NAIA Infra Corporation, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

I am honored to join you today on this momentous occasion—the Signing Ceremony for the NAIA-PPP Concession Agreement. As the Vice President for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific of the Asian Development Bank, I extend my congratulations to the Department of Transportation, the Manila International Airport Authority and  the New NAIA Infra Corporation.

At ADB, we are committed to supporting initiatives that foster sustainable development and economic prosperity across the Asia-Pacific region. The modernization of NAIA stands as a beacon of this commitment.

This ceremony signifies not just the signing of an agreement, but the beginning of a journey towards the rehabilitation and modernization of NAIA, and the enhancement of the Philippines' aviation landscape.  

Over three decades, the Philippines has developed a robust Public-Private Partnership enabling framework through the Build–Operate–Transfer Law of 2012 and the PPP Center. The NAIA PPP showcases  the Administration's policy to harness private sector expertise, innovation and capital to support infrastructure development. PPPs are expected to play a pivotal role in financing national and subnational infrastructure investments. With a pipeline of projects, the government is taking key steps to further improve the environment for PPPs--for example, revising the implementing rules and regulations, and enacting a new law that enhances the legal framework for PPPs.  

We have been impressed by the level of engagement and strong participation by key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. Representatives from Implementing Agencies within the national government, local governments, private sector sponsors and development companies, and lenders attended the consultation sessions and candidly shared their views and inputs into drafting the implementing rules and regulations.

The NAIA PPP is the largest solicited PPP in the Philippines in nearly 25 years. Today’s signing ceremony underscores the importance of such partnerships and the potential for what can be achieved when government and private sector work together.  

ADB’s Office of Markets Development and Public-Private Partnership , has been engaged by the Department of Transportation as transaction advisor for the NAIA PPP since February 2023. It has been an honor for us to to support the Department in developing a well crafted,  bankable structure that attracted strong interest from both domestic and international markets. The speed of the administration in executing bidding and evaluation of such a large complex project and the dedication to transparency have been truly impressive.  

Importantly, the government’s decision to pursue the solicited process has led to higher government receipts. This outcome has been made possible through an open, transparent, and robust competitive tender process, which attracted strong interest from international and local participants.

The Philippines-ADB partnership has never been stronger, with ADB now one of the biggest, if not the largest, provider of official development assistance to the country. Beyond sovereign loans and technical assistance, we remain committed to support the government in exploring PPPs as a vehicle for pursuing efficient, modern, inclusive, and climate-resilient infrastructure projects that will further boost the country’s economic growth.  

In conclusion, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to each one of you for your unwavering commitment and dedication to harnessing private sector expertise and innovation and mobilizing private capital to rehabilitate NAIA and enhance its passenger experience. Let us embark on this remarkable journey towards modernizing NAIA and shaping a brighter future for the Philippines and the Filipino people.  

Thank you. 

Speaker