LGUs urged to tap PPP for infra projects

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 March) – Local government units must “think out of the box” in finding practical sources like the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme for vital infrastructure projects that cannot be funded by government’s limited resources, Regional Development Council 11 chair and Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario said.

In his message read by National Economic Development Authority 11 director Maria Lourdes Lim during the launch of the PPP Knowledge Corner Tuesday, del Rosario said the LGUs have not fully tapped the PPP program.

“We may be in a situation where we have tons of things to do for the development of our respective localities and are in fact ready to take on the challenge of the President (Rodrigo R. Duterte) to be catalysts of change but realizing in the end that we only have meager resources within our disposal,” he said.

The lack of financial or technical capacity should not discourage local executives to pursue their development objectives and that it must be seen as an opportunity to explore beyond the traditional sources of funding, he added.

He urged the local governments to be proactive players in the government’s massive infrastructure program described as the “Golden Age of Infrastructure” despite the budget constraints.

He encouraged LGUs to look for other sources of funding to implement infrastructure projects such as water supply, solid waste management, public markers, government complex, and transport terminals.

“Given the limited fiscal space, only a handful of these projects gets funded. When our proposed projects do not find its way in the general appropriations act, what shall we do then? Do we wait for the next budgeting season? Or should we find other practical sources of financing?” he said.

Under the PPP scheme, del Rosario said the private sector plays a valuable role in socioeconomic development and offers important sources of financing and technical expertise.

“Thus, the PPP program should be built on trust and mutually beneficial arrangements such that the government can implement major capital projects more efficiently and innovatively, while affording the private sector a level playing field, reasonable returns, and appropriate sharing of risks,” he emphasized.

The governor said he hopes the region can achieve its development objectives under the five-year Davao Regional Development Plan and Regional Development Investment Plan that will end by 2022.

“I am hoping that by the end of 2022, we can all proudly say that we have achieved our development objectives because each of us has put our hearts and minds in to what we desire for our region and the entire country,” he said.

The Duterte administration’s five-year massive infrastructure program called “Build. Build. Build” intends to construct high impact projects that will make the economy more productive, create jobs, increase incomes, and strengthen investment climate leading to sustained inclusive growth.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)