• ADB vows PPP support with a Mindanao focus

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    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will continue to support the Philippines’ public-private partnership (PPP) program with a particular focus on Mindanao.

    Richard Bolt, the ADB country director for the Philippines, said the Manila-based lender was working on extending its PPP support through increased policy loans and capacity development at a more local level.

    “We will help Mindanao to establish a PPP center which will be an extension of the national program . . . This will be one of the first steps that we will take to building local capacity in PPPs,” Bolt told reporters on Wednesday.

    “The idea is there is a national level of PPPs . . . trans-boundary projects that need to be handled nationally, but there are [also]a lot of projects that need to be looked at locally,” he added.

    For instance, a lot of potential PPPs involving solid waste management, water supply sanitation and regional expressways can be staged at regional levels.

    “Those are the things that needs regional perspective … so the idea is to build capacity of agencies, such as in Mindanao, to play their role in that,” he said.

    The ADB has said that a lack of infrastructure is weighing on Philippine economic growth, with the country ranked 95 out of 144 countries globally in terms of infrastructure quality based on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015.

    While government has revived the national PPP program and taken steps to boost effectiveness, the lender noted remaining challenges that include right-of-way issues, tapping capital markets, designing infrastructure master plans, and completing legal and regulatory frameworks.

    The ADB recently approved a $300-million loan facility to support the Philippines’ efforts to tap more private participation in urgently needed infrastructure investments.

    “PPPs are vital for infrastructure development and for a sustainable economy. While there has been significant progress on PPPs, further reforms are needed to increase private investment,” the bank said.

    The PPP-oriented loan will support improved assessment systems and budgets for right-of-way acquisition and resettlement of communities.

    It will boost capacity and staff at the national PPP Center and help to finalize work on proposed amendments to the build-operate-transfer law that are critical for sustaining the PPP program.

    The government has so far awarded 10 PPP projects worth a total of $4.2 billion, including the ADB-assisted Mactan Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal.

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