DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 August) — City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was misinformed about the implications of a public-private partnership (PPP) ordinance as a prelude to privatization of basic social services such as water, energy and infrastructure, an official of a militant group said.
Sheena Duazo, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Southern Mindanao, was reacting to the mayor’s statement that Bayan’s claim about PPP was “absurd”.
In a report, Duterte-Carpio said that a mere ordinance will not lead to privatization of government-owned utilities and corporations.
The city council approved the PPP ordinance during its regular session last August 24.
Duazo said the PPP code allows the private sector to invest in basic services without having to spend on advertising.
“While the public will pay for these services, the private sector will make profit. And, with the PPP scheme, the government is the one to ensure that the private sector would be compensated from such projects,” she told MindaNews.
Bayan said the city’s priority projects under its comprehensive development plan for 2012-2020 include surface water supply and light railway transit.
The plan is still being discussed in the city council committee on housing, rural and urban development, chaired by Councilor Arnulfo Cabling.
Bayan said these projects are the centerpiece of President Benigno Aquino III’s program under the PPP thrust.
In a position paper presented to the city council before the approval of the ordinance, the group cited the pitfalls of the scheme as shown by PPP projects that have been undertaken.
Bayan said 42 PPP power projects have been implemented where the groups of San Miguel Corp. and Aboitiz- and Lopez-owned companies have obtained control resulting in high costs of electricity.
It noted that the build-rehabilitate-operate-transfer (BROT) deals with Ayala-owned Manila Water Company and Lopez-owned Maynilad Water Services, Inc. were considered the biggest water privatization projects in 1997 that resulted in massive retrenchments of employees and water rates hike.
Bayan also cited some transportation projects under the PPP setup. These include the build-lease-transfer deal with the Metro Rail Transit Corporation, the BROT deal with South Luzon Tollway Corporation for the South Luzon Expressway, and the BROT deal with Manila North Tollway Corporation for the North Luzon Expressway.
Councilors Leah Librado and Berino Mambo-o voted against the passage of the PPP ordinance.
“I am not convinced PPP code is beneficial to the people. It is a prelude to privatization spree,” Librado said.
Mambo-o said he also thinks the ordinance will lead to privatization of social services.
He added the ordinance is unnecessary because the government is supposed to provide basic services.
“The government services, all the more, will not reach those who are mostly in need,” he said.
The councilors who voted for the ordinance were Jimmy Dureza, the proponent, Louie Bonguyan, Pilar Braga, Marissa Salvador-Abella, Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz, Cabling, Tomas Monteverde IV, Rachel Zozobrado and Rene Lopez.
Those who abstained were Dante Apostol, Edgar Ibuyan, Joan Bonguyan, Jackson Reyes, and Louie Villafuerte. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)