TYCOON MANUEL V. PANGILINAN:

‘Infra projects better financed via ODA’

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Business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan on Tuesday said the government is better off funding its infrastructure projects via official development assistance (ODA).

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“They have taken the view these infra projects which are quite numerous could be better handled if it were done through them using ODA. In a way, government-to-government financing is cheaper … than private sector,” Pangilinan told reporters in an ambush interview on the sidelines of the annual stockholders’ meeting of the Manila Electric Co.

Though through ODA it might take time, Pangilinan noted, saying ODAs are “subject to certain procurement procedures, protocol. And since the funding will come mainly from abroad, say Japan or China, then disbursements of the funds are subject to the review of their government.”

Under Republic Act 8182, or the ODA Act of 1996, official development assistance is a loan or a grant administered with the objective of promoting sustainable social and economic development and welfare of the Philippines.

Pangilinan noted the Kaliwa Dam project is a good project. The project should be built.

“If we build a dam, how do we price the bulk water? Obviously, you’ve got to price it that it pays for the dam for an ‘X’ number of years,” he said.

“The longer the tenor, the lower the cost, the better it is. But does the private sector have that capacity? Probably not. It is only the government that has the capacity for procurement and the financing for the project,” he added.

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