Source: The Manila Times, 21 November 2011


IT’S the flagship project of the presidency of President Be-nigno Aquino 3rd, and it is getting the full support of the British government though its embassy in Manila.
We are talking about the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative of the government, and as part of its continuing support for the program the British Embassy, through the United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI), organized a seminar last week featuring experts from British firms who shared their experience and expertise in every aspect of the PPP program, including sustainable infrastructure.

The seminar is part of a trade mission with British firms keen on getting involved in the development of PPP projects in the Philippines and in the region. These are professional service firms dealing with transaction and legal advisory, project packaging and finance, infrastructure management and technical consultancy, and similar areas.

“We have a wide and expert range of top quality British companies with experience of 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,“ British Ambassador to Manila Stephen Lillie said.

The seminar gathered over 100 participants from industry associations, project developers and contractors, financial institutions and government agencies. The seminar featured speakers from companies like PWC Professional Advisors Inc, P & A – Grant Thornton, Baker & McKenzie (Quisumbing Torres), Ashurst LLP, Pinsent Masons LLP, HSBC, Halcrow, Atkins Global, SERCO and Tony Gee.

They provided insights on many aspects of the PPP process, such as key issues in developing market PPP, risk management, key legal issues and considerations for foreign investors and financiers, critical success factors in the delivery of PPPs and sustainable planning and delivery of urban infrastructure.

Other British companies who participated in mission activities included Arup, Gammon Construction, Systech, Pointer Ltd, Andrews & Wykeham, E & Y, and March Publishing.

Aside from the seminar, the trade mission delegates also attended a briefing hosted by the Board of Investments (BOI) with representatives of the different government agencies with PPP projects, and the Urban Forum 2011 of the Asian Development Bank.

For its part, the PPP Center is keen on having a dialogue with prospective private partners from the UK. Cosette Canilao, Executive Director of the PPP Center, said, “We look forward to [having a] dialogue and to hear inputs and suggestions as we acknowledge 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.”

Since the PPP program was launched and the PPP center was inaugurated, the British government has worked supportively with the Philippine government. This year, it brought in experts from the PPP Center’s British counterpart—Infrastructure UK—to engage with various Philippine government departments, run workshops with national and local government officials, and work with the PPP Center to develop a manual for local government on the application of PPP.

The British Embassy is also partnering with the Development Academy of the Philippines on a project to build the capacity of local government units (LGUs) in maximizing PPP opportunities through a series of workshops for government officials.

The latest in the series was the one-day orientation-workshop for Region IV-A (Calabarzon), which was held at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila. The workshop gave LGUs the opportunity to clarify the context of the PPP scheme and explore possible local PPP projects along with the identification of other services that the PPP Center provided. Governor Juanito Victor Remulla Jr. of Cavite province, Vice Governor Mark Leviste of Batangas province and Mayor Barbara Ruby Talaga of Lucena City, Quezon province, led the delegation of LGUs for the region. The orientation-workshop ended with presentations by each province on viable PPP projects, which would be later developed into a full feasibility study with advisory and technical assistance from the PPP Center.

“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 concluded.