The state-run Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center said on Thursday that foreign investors’ interest for the country’s PPP infrastructure projects has been maintained, despite the challenges and controversies of some projects.
In a press briefing, PPP Executive Director Cosette Canilao told reporters that foreign investors’ interest is increasing despite the challenges and roadblocks that the center is facing.
“They are closely monitoring developments for all PPP projects . . . And once we award projects [to certain bidders], it would give [foreign investors]more comfort on roadblocks, with clear picture of the solutions,” she added.
Jose Emmanuel Reverente, PPP deputy executive director, agreed, saying that foreign players’ appetite in investing on the country’s PPP has not changed.
“In fact, our two upcoming investments will happen now and next month. Foreign players are coming in and opportunities [are coming]in these projects so there is no significant change on [investor]appetite,” he added.
Canilao also clarified misconceptions about the Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center (MPOC) project, saying the aim is not to privatize the government facility.
“The government still has control over the MPOC through the contract . . . The project’s aim is to improve the services to the public, especially the poor,” Canilao said, citing the improvement of the center’s facilities such as radiology, provision of ultrasound scanner, operating rooms and intensive care units, among others.
Other enhancements would include the establishment of women and children’s desks, as well as data collection as a basis of certain potential policies to be drafted by the government.
“MPOC [project]will deliver improved health services to the public with less or no cost at all . . . This is an opportunity for the poorest of the poor to experience quality care medical services and we’ll start it with MPOC. I just don’t understand why some sectors are against the project. I don’t think they know what they’re talking about,” Canilao said.
The PPP executive director was referring to parties who filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the MPOC project that will allegedly privatize services, limit beds allotted for patients, and lay off health workers.
Canilao noted that the 70 percent of the 700 beds in at the POC would be served to sponsored patients, and the 210 beds will be made available for indigent patients.
She added that the patients not registered for sponsorship by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. would be automatically registered once, through the expanded services coverage of the MPOC project.
The executive director added that the upgraded POC would enable stay-in patients with proper treatment. Under the current system, the POC turns over patients to other centers under the Department of Health.
“Where do we get funding? [It is] from the sin taxes, that is why government programs are linked . . . It is to expand health services to the [bottom]20 percent of our society,” Canilao said.
The PPP chief said that the signing of the contract for the MPOC project will be done soon, which will be followed by financial closing in two to three months.