A Palace priority measure institutionalizing and strengthening the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme has been approved at the House Committee on Appropriations on Monday.

Liberal Party (LP) Rep. Isidro T. Ungab of Davao said the substitute bill seeks to recognize the indispensable role of the private sector as the main engine for national growth and development, as well as in creating an enabling environment for PPP.

The measure also seeks to provide the most appropriate incentives to mobilize private resources for financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects and services normally financed and undertaken by the government, he said.

The measure was principally authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Majority Leader Neptali M. Gonzales II, House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman and LP Rep. Romero S. Quimbo of Marikina City, and LP Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan of Benguet.

The PPP refers to a contractual arrangement between the implementing agency and the project proponent for the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance, or any combination thereof, of an infrastructure facility, in which the project proponent bears significant risk, management responsibility or both.

Under the bill PPP projects may be undertaken through any of the following: build and transfer; build-lease-and-transder; build-own-and-operate; build-operate-and-transfer; build-transfer-and-operate; contract-add-and-operate; develop-operate-and transfer; joint venture; operations and maintenance contract; rehabilitate-operate-and-transfer; and supply-and-operate.

The measure said implementing agencies, in accordance with their respective charters, are hereby authorized to undertake PPP projects with any project proponent in accordance with the provisions of this act.

It added that in undertaking a PPP project under this act, a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC), or any of its subsidiaries, shall secure the approval of the head of department or agency to which the GOCC is attached.

The measure also said priority projects that will be implemented under this act shall be consistent with the Philippine Development Plan, or its equivalent at the local level, and the implementing agencies shall submit their list of PPP projects or any update thereto to the PPP Center of Information.

The bill added that Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF) will be used for the procurement of advisory and support services related to the preparation, structuring, probity management, procurement, financial close and monitoring of implementation of PPP projects.

It said that among other incentives, PPP projects in excess of P1 billion shall be entitled to incentives as provided by the Omnibus Investment Code, upon prior endorsement of the PPP Center and registration by the project proponent with the Board of Investments.

To achieve the goals of this act, the measure said that the PPP Center created under the Executive Order 8, series of 2010 is hereby institutionalized. It is also hereby authorized to adopt its current organizational structure, absorb its existing employees and upgrade its human resource component, as may be necessary.

“The PPP Governing Board is hereby created which shall be the overall policy-making body for all PPP-related matters, including the PDMF. It shall be responsible for setting the strategic direction of PPP programs and projects and in creating an enabling policy and institutional environment for PPP,” the bill said.

According to the measure, any person, whether private individual or public officer or employee, who commits any of the acts hereunder proscribed, shall be penalized by imprisonment from a minimum of three years to a maximum of six years and one day.

Also, a joint congressional oversight committee is hereby created to oversee the implementation of this act. The committee shall be composed of five members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives to be designated by the Senate President and Speaker of the House, respectively. The committee shall be jointly chaired by the respective chairman of the House Committee on Public Works and Highways and Senate Committee on Public Works.

15 December 2015
By Jovee Marie de la Cruz