MANILA, Philippines — The government is looking at the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge as a potential public-private partnership (PPP) project.

National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters during the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ annual reception for the banking community that the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge is among the projects seen as a candidate for PPP.

“We would like to see this new Bataan-Cavite bridge, we would want to have that eventually also a PPP,” he said.

He said the O&M of the bridge, after it is built, could be offered to the private sector.

“If it’s profitable enough, even the debt can be transferred to the private sector so they can continue the servicing for debt, pay back the government,” he said.

Last December, the Asian Development Bank approved up to $2.1 billion worth of financing for the construction of the 32.15-kilometer bridge to connect Bataan and Cavite across Manila Bay.

The Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge is among the government’s flagship infrastructure projects.

It will provide a better connection from Metro Manila to Central Luzon and nearby provinces like Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon and help boost economic activity.

In addition, it is expected to help attract more manufacturing industries in the Freeport Area of Bataan, the only freeport in the Manila Bay area.

The project will involve the construction of one of the world’s longest marine bridges, including two cable-stayed bridges, 24 km of marine viaducts, and a total eight km of approach road in the two provinces.

Once completed, the project is expected to reduce travel time between Bataan and Cavite to 1.5 hours from five hours, and to about two hours from four hours between Bataan and Metro Manila.

The government is pushing for PPPs for infrastructure development due to the state’s limited fiscal space.

Private sector involvement in public projects is also seen to provide benefits, given the sector’s financial resources, as well as technical and managerial capacities.

BY Louella Desiderio – The Philippine Star
January 29, 2024 | 12:00am