GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 July) – The city government is planning to develop within the next three years a modern integrated food terminal and public market complex through the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said they are currently exploring possible investments partnerships with the private sector for the integrated food terminal and several other major projects through the assistance of the national government’s PPP Center.
He said they signed an internship agreement last week with the PPP Center to expedite the forging of investment partnerships for the projects.
Aside from the integrated food terminal, he said they are planning to link with the private sector for the development of more farm-to-market roads and agri-industrial facilities as well as the expansion and upgrading of the city’s central public market.
“Our goal here is to make GenSan the agri-industrial hub of Region 12. In doing so, we also want to give opportunities to small enterprises as well as open more employment for our constituents,” Rivera said in a statement.
Based on their memorandum of agreement, the PPP Center will help capacitate the city government in pursuing PPP linkages for the integrated food terminal and city public market components of the Integrated Economic Development for Regional Trade (IEDRT) in General Santos City Project.
The internship program agreement is part of the PPP Center’s strategy initiative on engaging local government units for PPP linkages.
Under the agreement, the PPP Center, which is an attached agency of the National Economic and Development Authority, will provide hands-on training and assistance to the city’s PPP Board, PPP technical working group facilitated by the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office and PPP selection committee, which will be in charge with project development and bid management of identified PPP projects.
The agency will also mentor the city’s PPP team in the areas of project development, bidding and competition, and implementation.
Rivera said the IEDRT program is a priority strategic economic support initiative of the city government that is aimed at spurring infrastructure investments and improve the area’s capability to serve as the food and trading center of the greater part of Region 12.
He specifically cited the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and this city, which forms part the Socsksargen growth area.
“The project seeks to improve the physical and institutional linkages among the various stakeholders of the city’s food chain industry, he said.
The mayor said it also aims to benefit local residents through the creation of a network of food market-related activities that will spur the city’s economic development while also expanding access to quality and healthy food at a regional scope.
He said a pre-feasibility study on the program was commissioned by the Cities Development Initiatives for Asia in response to the request of the local government for a pre-assessment of the economic situation of the city.
In support of the project, the city council earlier passed a resolution approving the PPP implementation and another measure that authorizes the mayor to enter into an internship program agreement with the PPP Center.
“One of the problems in implementing PPPs here in the city is that no one has the exact knowledge on how to do it. This assistance coming from the PPP Center will be a great help so that we, in the local government, can finally engage knowledgeably in such ventures,” Rivera said.