A CONSULTANT to the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center was appointed by President Benigno S. C. Aquino III as its new executive director.

“According to the Executive Secretary Paquito [N] Ochoa, Jr., President Aquino has appointed lawyer Andre ‘Raj’ C. Palacios as Executive Director of the PPP Center,” Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr. said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mr. Palacios is replacing Cosette V. Canilao who has offered to resign in January citing “pressing family concerns.”

Her resignation, approved by Mr. Aquino on Feb. 11, takes effect March 8.

Mr. Coloma said Mr. Palacios served as technical adviser of the PPP Center since January last year.

Mr. Palacios also served as general counsel of Millennium Challenge Account Philippines and assistant secretary at the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel from March 2003 to May 2004.

Mr. Palacios finished law at the University of the Philippines. He placed fifth in the 1998 bar examinations. He also holds a master’s degree in international law at the University of London.

Ms. Canilao recommended Mr. Palacios in her resignation letter, saying: “He is highly reliable with unquestionable integrity and equipped to take on the gargantuan task of leading the Center.”

“He has also established a very good relationship with the officers and staff of the Center.”

In another development, the Department of Transportation department will hold a consultation tomorrow with the sole qualified bidder for the P298-million Public-Private Partnership (PPP) deal to upgrade the information technology (IT) system of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

“Please be informed that the second One-on-One Meeting will be on 03 March 2016 (Thursday), 10:00 a.m… at The Columbia Tower, Ortigas Avenue, Brgy. Wack Wack, Mandaluyong City,” LTFRB Chairman Winston M. Ginez, who is also the vice-chairman of the pre-qualification, bids and awards committee, said in general bid bulletin No. 15-2016 dated Feb. 29.

This followed the pre-bid conference and first one-on-one meeting scheduled on Jan. 29.

The preliminary auction timetable for the Road Transport IT Infrastructure Project (Phase II) indicates that bid proposals will be submitted and opened in February, and the notice of award will be issued in March.

Mr. Ginez said his agency is looking at accelerating the bidding timetable as only one group is eligible to bid for the project.

The Indian-based consortium of IL&FS Technologies Ltd. and Sahi Technologies Unlimited, Inc. emerged as the sole qualified bidder after its only rival, Tech Mahindra Ltd., was disqualified for submitting its requirements past deadline.

Aside from Tech Mahindra and IL&FS Technologies Phil., Inc., there were four other companies that bought bid documents but did not push through: Stradcom Corp., Real Time Data Management Services, Inc., SMS Global Technologies, Inc., and Vibal Group, Inc.

“Computerization efforts will help clean up existing data of the LTFRB, enhance data collection and processing,” the PPP Center said in July.

The proposed concession period is 11.5 years, including 1.5 years for the installation, development of applications, and setup, according to the invitation to bid.

Twelve contracts cumulatively worth P217.4 billion have been awarded since the flagship program was launched in the third quarter of 2010. These are: the P1.72-billion Automatic Fare Collection System; the P2.01-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway Link Road Project; the P2.50-billion Southwest Integrated Transport System (ITS) Project; the P4-billion ITS South Terminal Project; the P8.69-billion Modernization of Philippine Orthopedic Center project; the P15.86-billion second phase of the NAIA Expressway Project; the P16.43-billion first phase of the PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP); PSIP’s P3.86-billion second phase; the P17.52-billion Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building; the P24.4-billion Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project; the P55.51-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway; and the P64.9-billion LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension and Operation & Maintenance project.

01 March 2016
By Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza and Daphne J. Magturo