Faster processing of PPP projects eyed under Duterte

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 June) – The economic team of President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte is planning to speed up the processing of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects to encourage more investments.

Duterte’s Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez told a press conference at the SMX Convention Center Monday they will reduce the approval time to 18-20 months.

He said that under the Aquino administration it took an average of 29 months to implement 12 PPP projects..

Incoming National Economic Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia said the PPP program had not performed well under Aquino.

He cited the need to streamline the processes to fast-track the selection of projects for review and approval.

“PPP program’s performance is rather not too good. It’s not really encouraging and very little has been achieved during the last six years in terms of rolling out PPPs. There’s a lot of effort needed in boosting particular PPPs,” he said.

Pernia said they will work on addressing “red tape” to foster the PPP program.

“Cutting red tape is one of the areas that the incoming government is resolute to address or to achieve,” he said.

Republic Act 7718 or The Philippine BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) Law authorizes “the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects by the private sector”.

Section 8 of the law states that the project proponent will be repaid by authorizing it to charge and collect reasonable tolls, fees, and rentals for the use of project facility “not exceeding those incorporated in the contract and, where applicable, the proponent may likewise be repaid in the form of a share in the revenue of the project or other non-monetary payments, such as, but not limited to, the grant of a portion or percentage of the reclaimed land, subject to the constitutional requirements with respect to the ownership of land.”

Dominguez, however, lamented that most of the proposed PPP projects were still concentrated in the country’s capital Metro Manila.

“I just went into a briefing with the PPP center. I was amazed that maybe 80 percent of the projects are in and around Metro Manila. If we keep on spending money in that area, we are going to congest Manila and not solving employment and underemployment in rural and and secondary cities,” he said.

Business sector challenged

Dominguez urged the business sector to build public-private partnerships not just for projects but also “to transform national community into a cooperative enterprise that brings out the best in everyone and delivers the best for all.”

He proposed to the business community to build coalitions and veer away from the old ways in doing business, one that will not result into further entrenching “oligarchy.”

“I propose today that we start building coalitions for reform. We need to radically transform the way we do things so that economic growth does not translate into further entrenching the oligarchy; so that when we do things more efficiently, the majority benefits from the values created; so that when government performs better, the consumer benefits in the end,” he said.

He added that change must come from the community to transform the government.

“We cannot evolve a rules-based economy without a rules-based ethos for the whole community. We cannot have good governance in the public sector without good governance in the private sector. Enough of the political coalitions. Those have been done,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)