• Public-private partnerships crucial to infra program

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    The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Monday stressed the crucial role of public-private partnerships (PPP) in the success of the government’s infrastructure program, citing the need to raise infrastructure spending in order to boost the investment climate and improve the country’s competitiveness.

    “The success of PPPs will ease the burden of the government in providing infrastructure that will subsequently lower the costs of logistics, transportation, and doing business in general,” NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said.

    Balisacan was speaking during the Kick-Off Meeting on the Capacity Development Technical Assistance (CDTA) for “Strengthening Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the Philippines” held at the National Statistical Coordination Board in Makati City on May 22.

    The CDTA is part of the current Joint Asian Development Bank (ADB)-Australia-Canada Review Mission in the country.

    The group discussed ways to strengthen PPPs in terms of capacity building, project development and monitoring facility, coordination with development partners, and support for PPP reforms of the government.

    Under the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 Midterm Update, the country is pursuing comprehensive and long-term strategies to bolster the country’s investment climate and competitiveness, which include increasing infrastructure spending targeted at 5 percent of GDP by 2016.

    “This review exercise and subsequent third-party evaluation of the CDTA is crucial in our attempt to deepen our understanding of the PPP Program. We need to have a critical assessment of the program’s implementation and outcomes just to be sure that we create accountabilities, meet expectations and increase its impact,” Balisacan said.

    Meanwhile, the PPP Center of the Philippines has partnered with various academic institutions nationwide in its effort to reach out to more local governments units (LGUs) that are considering the PPP option for their infrastructure and development projects.

    In a statement, the PPP Center said it tapped state universities and colleges (SUCs) and private higher educational institutions (HEIs) to be their partners in providing PPP capacity building interventions at the local level.

    The PPP Center noted that the partnership is part of the agency’s LGU-PPP Strategy following its mandated capacity building program, which started with the regional PPP briefings and workshops in 2011 and the development of an LGU PPP Manual in 2012.

    PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao stressed that this is consistent with the PPP Center’s commitment to expand its reach and to share its resources to facilitate properly prepared projects at the local level.

    “We wanted to engage these credible and apolitical academic institutions given their inherent potential to assist LGUs and their understanding of local conditions and realities. This will also establish the presence of PPP resource institutions all over the country,” Canilao said.

    The PPP Governing Board noted the increasing demand for local governments to be given project-focused assistance in the light of various local project initiatives that could have been better pursued as PPP.

    Several SUCs and HEIs nationwide have been selected based on their institutional capacity and resources to deliver technical assistance to local governments in their respective jurisdictions, the PPP Center said.

    To date, the PPP Center has already formalized said partnerships through memoranda of agreement with the University of the Philippines (UP)-Planning and Development Research Foundation Inc. of the UP School of Urban and Regional Planning, and the Dela Salle University’s Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance.

    Both have identified faculty lineup who will be trained and capacitated by the PPP Center on the provision of PPP competency-building interventions to selected local governments, it said.

    The PPP Center said there are 57 infrastructure projects under the PPP program that are in various stages of implementation.

    So far, contracts have already been awarded for seven PPP projects that have a combined cost of P62.6 billion. These projects are: Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road Project, PPP for School Infrastructure Project Phase 1, NAIA Expressway Project, PPP for School Infrastructure Project Phase 2, Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center, Automatic Fare Collection System, and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal.

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