MANILA, Philippines — Economic managers are set to unveil the longer and more comprehensive “Build, Build, Build” pipeline this week with more public-private partnership (PPP) projects expected to be included in the list.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told the Inquirer last week that the updated “Build, Build, Build” list comprised of up to 100 projects will be taken up during the next meeting of the interagency Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) tentatively scheduled on Wednesday, November 6.

Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), earlier said big-ticket PPP projects such as the San Miguel Corp. (SMC)-led Bulacan International Airport and the rehabilitation of the country’s main gateway Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) to be undertaken by seven conglomerates would form part of the new list.

The Neda chief had said that while there had been “some hesitancy” to “pure” PPP projects at the start of the Duterte administration, some officials had to “adjust to reality” while looking at “the bigger picture” when it comes to rolling out massive infrastructure projects.

“Let’s not be too obsessed about little gains to be made by the private-sector proponent or a little loss on the part of the government,” Pernia had said amid concerns that concessions from PPP contracts would sometimes be detrimental to the government.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III last week reiterated that the Department of Finance (DOF) would steer clear of automatic rate increases, non-compete clauses, commitments of non-interference, temporary restraining orders (TROs), and concessionaire-required government guarantees that had “plagued” PPP contracts during the previous Benigno Aquino III administration.

The ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program – previously composed of 75 “flagship” projects – had included just nine with private sector participation: eight PPPs and one to be rolled out by a private firm.

Pernia had expressed optimism that half of the 100 “Build, Build, Build” projects in the updated pipeline would be completed or at least jump-started before 2022.

By Ben O. De Vera