Palace encourages LGUs to seek out PPP infra projects

by
PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has urged local governments to pursue public-private partnerships (PPPs) to build infrastructure within their jurisdictions. 

“I think this is the way forward, and I encourage all our local government units (LGUs) to be open to the possibilities of PPPs,” he said in a meeting with the League of Cities of the Philippines on Tuesday. His remarks were released by the Palace on Wednesday.

Mr. Marcos said the government has received offers to fund big-ticket projects.

“There are many opportunities especially in infrastructure. Many of our friends from abroad — especially the ambassadors who paid courtesy calls to us — are offering help,” he said.

The offers, Mr. Marcos said, include funding via official development assistance and joint ventures by private-sector entities. 

“Well, you’re local government, you know that already. Local government generally cannot do it by itself,” Mr. Marcos said.

“We have to find partners, we have to find local partners, we have to find investors. Sanay na kayo diyan (you’re used to this).”

Mr. Marcos said he sees digitalization playing a prominent role among the PPP projects. “Digitalization is going to be a very natural fit for something like PPPs,” he said.

In his first address to Congress, the President said his government would create more opportunities to collaborate with the private sector.

Mr. Marcos is also pushing for amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law.

The Management Association of the Philippines urged the administration last month to “rectify overly stringent” Material Adverse Government Action provisions that discourage PPP investment due to high regulatory and political risks.

It said the government should also honor the sanctity of contracts through good-faith adherence to PPP contract terms and decisions of international arbitration tribunals.

The government’s infrastructure push is expected to generate jobs. But Terry L. Ridon of InfraWatchPH told BusinessWorld that this is “dependent on how fast PPPs are greenlighted by the current government while ensuring social and environmental safeguards.”

“There can be no massive job generation in PPPs until the last government approval has been secured,” he said. “The government can adopt the initiatives of the private sector to create new areas of study to support the country’s infrastructure push.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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