AT the recently held 2nd Business Forum (Wednesday July 22 at the Dusit Thani) more than 200 businessmen and entrepreneurs bought tickets and attended. They did so to get to the bottom of a momentous event that will soon happen. This is the formal establishment of the already extant Asean Economic Community.
Expert speakers all helped the participants understand more concretely how the formalization of the Asean Economic Community on December 31 this year will affect their business operations and even their very lives.
Government presence was in the form of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo and the beauteous, articulate and professionally admired Ms. Cosette Canilao, executive director of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center.
Secretary Domingo gave the lowdown on the state of preparation of our government agencies’ and every sector of the economy to be affected by the AEC.
Ms. Canilao’s talk, like that of Mr. Domingo, had none of the spin that their boss, the President, his spokesmen and most other Cabinet members have become notorious for.
Director Canilao’s main message was: “As of July 2015, there are 13 projects under procurement with a cost of P517.98 billion; with three projects for roll-out with a total cost of P25 billion; four projects for approval of relevant government bodies with a total cost of P201.19 billion, and six projects with ongoing studies with a total cost of P86.75 billion.”
She spoke about “a real list of projects… not a wish list… projects that we’ve bidded [out]and discussed with the implementing agencies.”
One of the projects, which she announced would go on stream the day after the Manila Times Business Forum (July 23) is the Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road.”
It is the first PPP project among the 10 that Ms. Canilao’s PPP Center has awarded since 2010.
This project is one that the Department of Public Works and Highways, under its also professionally commended Secretary Rogelio L. Singson, had begun the studies and planning for. Sec. Singson is deservedly admired for being among the few in President BS Aquino’s official family who are rigorously treading the Tuwid na Daan.
It is unfortunate that (as in yesterday’s Times column by Ricardo B. Ramos) comments about wrongdoings, acts of incompetence and scandalous transactions in DPWH, tar Secretary Singson’s reputation when his subordinates, who are the culprits, manage to put one over him.
We are glad to learn from Exec Director Canilao that the PPP Center is in good hands and that many other long-awaited big infrastructure projects will soon be in the works in addition to the 10 ongoing ones.
“In 2011, we were rated Number 8 in the world as having one of the good regimes and legal frameworks for the PPPs. In 2014 we moved a notched higher to Number 7 and we are now considered as a country with developed PPP program,” she said.
We share her pride in these good developments.