Source: Business Mirror


BEFORE the end of the year, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center expects to approve at least five additional projects to draw from the Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF).

In an interview on Thursday, PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao said the PDMF board is set to discuss several water supply-related projects to be implemented by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, one postharvest facility project under the Department of Agriculture, and the manufacture of rifles for the Department of National Defense.

The PDMF is a funding pool managed by the PPP Center to enable proponent agencies to come up with viable and well-prepared project proposals. The PDMF has been established with P300 million in financing from the government and co-financed by Australia, which provided $6 million under an Asian Development Bank technical-assistance package.

Canilao said the PDMF board would meet next week to discuss the projects.

Also on Thursday, experts from British firms discussed some of the risks and challenges of mounting various kinds of PPPs in the country, as well as some of the best practices worldwide.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Lillie hosted a forum where British experts discussed the PPP process, such as key legal issues and considerations for foreign investors and financiers. These include risk management, sustainable planning and delivery of urban infrastructure and lessons learned from the global infrastructure

Lillie said the British experts also discussed critical success factors in the delivery of PPPs and sustainable planning and delivery of urban infrastructure.

On this, Canilao said: “We look forward to dialogue and to hear inputs and suggestions as we acknowledge the UK’s expertise and experience on PPP and infrastructure, in general. Our projects need experience and high-caliber professional service firms or organizations in the areas of infrastructure and development-project packaging and structuring, financing and delivery, transaction advisory, consulting and other similar or related activities.”

The forum is part of Britain’s continuing support for the Philippines’s PPP projects.

“We have a wide range of experts of top-quality British companies with experience in PPP right from the start—from the project design, the financing, the legal issues, to the delivery, the engineering, construction—to the end of the project, to the operation and management,” Lillie said in a statement on Thursday.

Some of the experts came from British companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers Financial Advisors Inc., Punongbayan & Araullo-Grant Thornton, Baker & McKenzie represented by Quisumbing Torres, Ashurst Llp., Pinsent Masons Llp., HSBC, Atkins, Serco and Arup.

British companies that joined the trade mission to the Philippines also include Arup, Gammon Construction, Systech, Pointer Ltd. Andrews & Wykeham, E&Y and March Publishing.

The British trade mission also met with representatives of the Board of Investments to discuss the PPP projects.

Lillie said the British Embassy is also partnering with the Development Academy of the Philippines to assist local government units (LGUs) to engage in PPP projects through a series of workshops for government officials.

“The UK is really the home of public-private partnerships. It was the UK government’s private finance initiative of 1992 that really put public-private partnerships on the map internationally. In over two decades, we have built up an unrivalled pool of expertise; an unrivalled breadth and depth of expertise in the delivery of different types of public-private partnership projects,” Lillie said.

Some experts said transparency could be done through the oversight of the National Economic and Development Authority and the Interagency Investment Coordination Committee, which evaluates projects.

There is also a need for LGUs and implementing agencies to conduct capacity-building exercises to prevent project delays and improve the design of PPP contracts.

Even with a rough start, Canilao said the PPP Center is already in a better position to make PPPs happen for the Philippines. The center has not only launched the PDMF formally but also created templates for local government units to use for their own PPPs.

The PPP Center has also identified the nine national and international consulting firms that will assist in the pre-investment studies. These will be done prior to bidding and will be funded through the PDMF.

“We are in a better place right now because we already have the building blocks. The PDMF launching is just the start. It is now a question of interagency coordination,” Canilao said.

Earlier, the Neda said six PPP projects were recently approved to draw from the PDMF from P170 million to P185 million to finance pre-investment studies. The projects are: the modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center; the construction of 10,000 classrooms for the Department of Education for P13 million; the construction, and operation and maintenance of the Mactan Cebu International Airport new passenger terminal building; the operation and maintenance of a new Bohol airport; the operation and maintenance of the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis, Oriental; and the establishment of an automatic fare-collection system for Light Rail Transit Line 1 and 2, and Metro Rail Transit Line 3.