The Philippines showcased its own public-private partnership (PPP) program, which is acknowledged to be one of the successful models in the region, at a gathering of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) experts on Wednesday in Tagaytay City.
“PPPs are complex. It requires the strong support of the leaders and movers in the government, especially the buy in of both the oversight and implementing agencies,” Cosette Canilao, executive director of the Philippines’ PPP Center, said during the APEC PPP Experts Advisory Council Meeting.
“It is also imperative to have a strong PPP unit that will facilitate, monitor, and act as catalyst to fast-track the implementation of PPP projects. This is the role mandated to the PPP Center,” Canilao added.
PPP is an initiative whereby the private sector is tapped to invest in public projects or programs in order to help fill in the investment gap. This is especially important in addressing the limitations of government resources for achieving development goals of economies.
“Cognizant of the importance of maintaining the private sector’s keen interest and support for the program, the Center worked on formulating and adopting key policies that addressed the weaknesses under the current legal framework,” Canilao said.
“We have established the inclusion of the Contingent Liability Fund in the annual General Appropriations Act. Most importantly, we are pushing for the enactment of the PPP Act (amendments to the BOT Law) which will institutionalize the reforms we have put in place and further strengthen the legal framework of our proven and tested processes,” she said.
The proposed amendments to the BOT (Build Operate Transfer) Law also include, among others, institutionalization of the Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF), PPP Governing Board and the PPP Center, prohibition of issuance of Temporary Restraining Orders and preliminary injunction of the lower courts, and extending the challenge period for unsolicited projects.
In the Philippines, contracts for nine solicited infrastructure projects worth a total of about $2.9 billion (P127.9 billion) under the PPP program have been awarded since the start of the Aquino administration in 2010.
“Infrastructure is one of critical ingredients in sustaining the growth not only for the Philippines but also for any other Apec economies. Hence, pushing for more infrastructure development via PPP and leveraging on the efficiency and expertise of the private sector is something that can give us value for money, benefit the public as well as the economy,” Canilao said.
The awarded PPP projects and those in the pipeline are expected to help the Philippines remain on a high-growth trajectory over the medium term to long-term.
Given the milestones related to public-private partnership in the Philippines, Partnerships UK recognized the PPP Center as the Best Central/Regional Government PPP Promoter during the 2014 Partnerships Awards.
Meanwhile, at the next National Economic Development Agency (NEDA) Board meeting, the PPP Center will push two projects.
“In the NEDA Board meeting on the 24th or 25th, we have 2 PPP projects in our agenda – the Mass Transit System Loop, the first subway that will connect Bonifacio Global City, Makati, and Pasay area, and the other one is the Motor Vehicle Inspection System. For both projects the implementing agency will be the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).”
The estimated cost of the Mass Transit System Loop is $8.4 Billion (P370.4 billion) and for the Motor Vehicle Inspection System the estimated cost is $429 million (P19.3 billion).
Meantime, Indonesia likewise shared its recent experience in setting up its own PPP unit, the regulation for the creation of which was issued by the Ministry of Finance of Indonesia just last year.
Freddy Saragih, director of Indonesia’s PPP Unit, said that initially they have 10 projects in the pipeline of which three are in power, three are in water supply, and four in transportation.
“We would like to increase our capacity,” Saragih said. He said the PPP Unit will have its staff trained to secure PPP certification. Moreover, he said, the PPP Unit is in the process developing standardized PPP documents.
The meeting was meant to promote the PPP model and highlight its benefits in helping accelerate investments and growth.
At the meeting, delegates agreed that Apec member-economies should constantly share their respective knowledge on PPP. One proposal was for Apec members to have a PPP knowledge portal that is accessible to all of them.