03/07/2011 | 11:46 AM

As part of his administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) initiative, President Benigno Aquino III on Monday said three expressway contracts are set for bidding and two Metro Manila light railways are up for privatization.

The first PPP projects to be offered to investors include the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (Phase II), NLEX-SLEX Link Expressway, and Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road Project, the President said.

“When these projects are finally completed… businesses based in the Philippines will find faster ways to transport goods,” he said in a speech delivered at the Development Bank of the Philippines.

He said Filipinos will also have the benefit of riding the privatized Metro Rail Transit-3 and Light Rail Transit-1 lines.

New investors will surely “upgrade the services and create a more sustainable business model” for Metro Manila rail system, the President said.

“These projects will undoubtedly further stimulate our economy… With an estimated investment of more than a billion dollars lined up for bidding, these projects give us more reason to be optimistic,” Aquino said.

The projects will cost a total of P47.19 billion, according to Claro Fernandez, chief of the central bank’s Investor Relations Office.

Celebratory mood

In PPP projects, the state and the private sector collaborate to build a road, hospital, or airport, with the private company usually given the rights to run it for a certain period.

In November last year, the Aquino administration initially bared its plan to invite private sector in some infrastructure projects under the PPP program.

With these projects in place, the Aquino Administration hopes that the growth of the Philippine economy would quicken in the near term.

“Make no mistake about it: these projects promise so much for our economy and for our people, and they will play a vital role in our administration’s fulfillment of our social contract with our people,” Aquino said.

The launch of the PPP projects is a “step toward the progress of our country… It should be expected that we would be in a celebratory mood,” he added.

During his visits to Indonesia and Singapore on Monday, Aquino said he will be “on the look out” for more potential partners for the Philippines’ big-ticket infrastructure projects.

“If we are to catch up with the rest of the world, it is imperative that we outthink and outwork our competitors,” the President said. — JE/RSJ, GMA News