Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Finally, A Light at the End of the NAIA 3 Tunnel

Yesterday, the Philippine government finally paid P3 billion to Piatco, the consortium that built the NAIA 3 airport terminal. The said amount represents the initial payment that would allow our government to expropriate and enable MIAA to finally operate the terminal.

For years, I have been following closely the developments in the NAIA 3-Piatco issue simply because I have a financial stake there. You see, I was one of the "lucky" few who was able to get a concession contract to operate a restaurant inside the new airport terminal several years back. I was all set to open a small restaurant named Comida Ilongga (together with my chef-partner, a fellow Ilonggo) at the shopping mall area of the new airport but unfortunately, the Supreme Court nullified the Piatco BOT contract after finding several illegal and onerous provisions in it. My partner and I have already paid Piatco nine months advance rent and deposit (as stipulated in our concessionaire contract) just days after the Supreme Court declared the NAIA 3 contract null and void. Since then, we have been trying and waiting to get our money back in vain. Hopefully, Piatco will now be able to pay us back our advance rental payments now that the government has made the P3 billion "downpayment" for the terminal.

I have always dreamed of running my own bar and/or restaurant. But after years of agonizing over my "failed" investment at NAIA 3, I have decided to put that plan on hold at the moment. The Comida Ilongga Restaurant would have been my very first foray into business but my experience with Piatco has taught me one valuable lesson: it pays to be cautious when making investment decisions, especially in the Philippines. Now, when I hear foreign investors and local businessmen complain that investment conditions in this country is very unpredictable, I nod my head vigorously in agreement. I totally symphatize and share their sentiment, having been "victimized" myself. Greedy politicians and powerful business groups make our country very unstable and unconducive to business. Thus, it very hard for businessmen to succeed and makes our country unattractive to foreign investors. This I think is the reason why the Philippines's economic growth has consistently lagged behind in comparison to the rest of our Southeast Asian neighbors.

1 comment:

Econblogger said...

Indeed.