The Philippine government is not on the losing end of the joint venture (JV) with a Malaysian company for the development of the New Clark City Phase 1A since all the processes are “transparent” and implementation are “above board”.

This was stressed by Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer Vivencio Dizon in a press briefing Monday held to refute news reports alleging an anomalous transaction to the detriment of the government.

He said the BCDA did all the necessary legal processes before awarding a joint venture agreement (JVA) with MTD Capital Berhad for the development of the New Clark City, the first phase of which pertains to the facilities that are now being used for the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

“The contract is very advantageous to the government because the government will not pay a single centavo to the developer until the sports facilities are completed and accepted,” he said.

The BCDA chief also said the MTD financed the project partly through a commercial loan extended by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) “without any guarantees from the Philippine government, including BCDA”.

“The only guarantee submitted to DBP is a guarantee by MTD’s mother company in Malaysia,” he said.

He said athletes and the other delegates to the SEA Games are now enjoying the Athletics Stadium, the Aquatics Center, and the Athletes Village — all built within an 18-month period.

Dizon said construction of these facilities transpired without the government shelling out funds, pointing out that only when the project is fully implemented will the government pay for it.

He said this system was unlike the ones used in the other infrastructure projects in the past wherein even as the government had paid a huge amount, the projects remain unfinished.

While the sports facilities are not part of the original proposal for the project’s Phase 1, he clarified that the BCDA required the developer to include this as the country will host this year’s SEA Games.

The BCDA chief added that the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) was sought for advice on some issues, such as the inclusion of the sports facilities in the overall development.

He said “the OGCC never gave an unfavorable opinion” in the January 30, 2018 contract review by OGCC.

“The OGCC gave its comments and suggestions to which BCDA addressed and clarified. The OGCC, in response to clarifications made by BCDA, unequivocally said that the ‘provisions of the executed JVA and the legal framework of the project are in compliance with the existing laws, rules, and regulations,” he said.

The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) also provided financial, technical, and legal aspects since the start and these include holding public bidding for the construction of the sports facilities, he said. (PNA)