Malaya Business Insight, 19 February 2014
By Angela Celis
The Aquino administration plans to amend the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law to better implement public private partnership (PPP) projects.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said at the sidelines of the Philippines Investment Forum that he is hoping for the passage of the proposed amendments in the BOT law before the 2016 elections.
â€śWe are working with congress already. There are many features in the amendments that can make it easier to implement PPP projects,â€ť the finance chief said yesterday.
â€śThe focus of this administration is to increase investments, reduce the infrastructure gap, and to make it easier to do business in the country,â€ť he added.
Purisima said that one of the proposed amendments in the BOT law is the clearer provisions in the right-of-way acquisitions (ROWA).
â€śRight now, the ROWA can take some time. The government has a right of eminent domain and yet weâ€™re held back by TROs (temporary restraining orders),â€ť Purisima said.
â€śWe want clearer provisions that would come up with mechanisms to determine how disputes in valuation will be dealt with without delaying the projects. Because sometimes the projects are held hostage because of this valuation provision,â€ť he added.
Another amendment is in the taxation regime of some projects.
â€śThis is a result of our experience with Pagbilao (power plant) where the local government unit tried to increase the tax to a point where the viability or the cost of that service becomes much higher than the rest of the country,â€ť Purisima said.
â€śTherefore I think we need more clarity in this area,â€ť he added.
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 18 February 2014
NiĂ±a P. Calleja
MANILA, Philippinesâ€”The bidding for the project to design and build a new government-run Dr. Fabella Memorial Hospital has been canceled for lack of a go-signal from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), health officials announced on Monday.
Health Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa said Health Secretary Enrique Ona had ordered the bidding canceled after the Department of Health (DOH) was told that the approval of the Neda Investment Coordination Committee was needed for projects that cost upwards of P1 billion.
Herbosa said the budget allotted for the transfer and modernization of the state-run tertiary maternity hospital to its new site in Sta. Cruz, Manila, was pegged at P1.5 billion, which made it necessary for the agency to seek Neda approval.
In a memorandum circular dated Dec. 23, 2013, the Department of Budget and Management announced that the scope of the Investment Coordination Committee and the Neda Committee on Infrastructure will cover major capital projects costing P1 billion and above, instead of the P500 million project floor cost.
The winning bidder in the Fabella project, J. D. Legaspi Construction (JDLC), had submitted a bid of P742,888,888.88 to the DOH bids committee during the June 26 bidding. It later filed a case in the Makati Regional Trial Court to compel the DOH to honor the deal.
Herbosa said the DOH was back to doing a feasibility study on the project before it could submit a new proposal to the Neda.
â€śWe were able to get the nod of the Neda technical board. At the Cabinet committee level, there was a suggestion that we pattern the project after the governmentâ€™s classroom projects. The facility will be built by the private sector then we will pay them over time in tranches,â€ť he explained.
Once the Neda, which is headed by President Aquino, gives the green light to the project, the DOH will start a new bidding process for the Fabella hospital, the third time it is doing so.
Asked to comment on the 13-page JDLC petition, Herbosa said: â€śThey should compel Neda, not us.â€ť
He added: â€śThe secretary or the head of the procuring agency has the right to cancel the bidding for any purpose he sees fit.â€ť
The aging Fabella Hospital, sometimes described as a â€śbaby factoryâ€ť for the sheer number of infants born there, is set to be transferred from the old Bilibid compound on Lope de Vega Street to the DOHâ€™s San Lazaro compound on Rizal Avenue, Manila.
When the hospital is rebuilt under a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, it will no doubt provide modern delivery services to its mostly indigent patients, a prospect that would also jack up fees,Â according to some groups.
â€śExperience tells us that PPP projects are bound to make the cost of public services higher, further disenfranchising the poor,â€ť said Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela, the militant party-list womenâ€™s group.
Fabella has always been the go-to maternity hospital for the poor. PhilHealth members do not have to pay a centavo, except in instances that exceed the agencyâ€™s case rate allocation. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has an office there to help indigents. Social welfare assistance is also available.
Business World, 19 February 2014
By Maya M. Padillo
Manila Bulletin, 18 February 2014
By Genalyn Kabiling
Manila, Philippines â€“ The government plans to pursue more than 20 major infrastructure projects in a bid to improve the connectivity between urban centers and regional growth hubs.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Arsenio Balisacan identified eight airports, six expressways, seven road projects, four railway systems, and the Central Spine roll-on/roll-off development as part of modernizing the countryâ€™s transportation network.
â€śWe are making a big push on infrastructure development. You should feel that push in the next several months when we get all these major infrastructure programs, not only in Metro Manila, but in other parts of the country as well,â€ť Balisacan said in a Palace press briefing.
Balisacan acknowledged that the government wants to pursue infrastructure development to help boost economic growth and eventually bring down poverty and unemployment in the country.
â€śWhat we want to do and what we are proposing to achieve here is to ensure that the rapid economic growth that we have been achieving will redound to quicker and faster poverty reduction,â€ť he added.
The administrationâ€™s priority airport projects are the Bicol International Airport Development, Puerto Princesa Airport, New Bohol (Panglao) Airport Development Project, Clark International Airport construction of a Budget/Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Terminal, construction of Mactan Cebu International Airport passenger international terminal, Tacloban Airport Redevelopment Project, completion of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3, NAIA Terminal 1 retrofitting/renovation.
Among the planned expressways are the Central Luzon Expressway (CLLEX) Phase 1, Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, Skyway-FTI-C5-connector, NAIA Expressway Phase 2, and Skyway Stage 3 that will connect the North Luzon Expressway and the South Luzon Expressway.
The seven major road projects are the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project, Albay West Coast Road, Panay East-West Road, Cebu City-San Remigio Road, Mindanao East-West Lateral Road, Bayugan-San Luis-Talacogon-La Paz-Loreto-Veruela-Sta. Josefa Road, and the Basilan Circumferential Road.
The government will also pursue the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 and Line 2 system rehabilitation; common station for LRT Line 1, Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 and MRT Line 7; MRT-3 capacity expansion; and MRT 7.
Malaya Business Insight, 17 February 2014
State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Â said the bankâ€™s net income for full-year 2013 hit P5.28 billion last year, 28 Â percent higher from P4.13-billion in 2012.
DBP president and chief executive officer Gil Buenaventura said the increase was buoyed by â€śsignificant increases in deposits, loans to borrowers and investments.â€ť
The bankâ€™s deposit levels improved from P176.92-billion in 2012 to P251.08-billion last year, or a growth of 41.92 percent.
Loans to borrowers increased by 7 percent from P118.93-billion in 2012 to P127.37-billion.
Investments jumped from P97.74-billion in 2012 to P145.75-billion in 2013.
Total assets increased to P436.1-billion from P361.08-billion in 2012.
Capital adequacy ratio based on Basel II stood at 24.33 percent as of December 2013.
â€ś2013 was a great year, but challenges lie ahead such as the ever increasing industry competition and stricter capital regulations,â€ť Buenaventura said.
He emphasized that the bank is gearing up to support the inclusive growth strategy of the National Government as stated in the Philippine Development Plan.
Buenaventura said DBP finances projects under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) program of national government agencies.
â€ś(The bank) now plans to expand its PPP financing program to include projects of local government units,â€ť he added.
â€śThe DBP continues to be well-capitalized and will continue to focus on the bankâ€™s natural government ecosystem Â â€“ Â the water districts, electric cooperatives, and local government units. Â As we support the priorities of government, DBP will also tap public-private partnership projects and other large infrastructure projects for their financing needs,â€ť Buenaventura said.
DBP is mandated to provide financing to projects in the priority areas of infrastructure and logistics, social services, protection of the environment, micro small and medium enterprises.
This year, Buenaventura said DBP will increase its number of branches to 102 and expand the number of its ATMs in key locations nationwide.
It also plans to offer more customer-oriented products and services and increase business lines to fulfill its SME mandate.
Fitch Ratings has affirmed DBPâ€™s ratings at BB+ based on stable deposit basis, satisfactory liquidity, high core capitalization, and rising loan reserves.
Standard and Poorâ€™s (S&P) has also upgraded DBPâ€™s long-term issuer credit ratings to BBB- from BB+, with stable outlook; and the bankâ€™s short-term issuer credit rating to A-3 from B.
S&P cited DBPâ€™s critical public policy role in supporting the economic and social development of the Philippines and the bankâ€™s integral link to the government.