Source: Philstar

MANILA, Philippines – The Aquino administration is on track with its much-touted public-private partnership program for infrastructure, according to the newly-created PPP center.

In a press briefing yesterday, PPP Center Deputy Executive Director Cosette Canilao said that the bidding for the first project under the PPP program would be implemented within the first half of the year as scheduled. “We are on track,” Canilao noted.

The first project to be bid out is the operation and maintenance contract for MRT 3 and LRT 1.

According to the Department of Transportation and Communications, the O&M runs for four years and will cover the 37.16-kilometer long rail mass transit system, which runs from Monument in Caloocan to Taft Avenue in Pasay.

The government has already asked interested parties to file their formal expressions of intent for the contract. Interested parties have until Friday to do so.

Canilao said that there are a lot of parties interested in the government’s PPP scheme.

The government’s economic team led by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima is now luring Chinese investors to the PPP program.

The PPP, considered as the Aquino administration’s centerpiece economic program, aims to tap private sector participation in 80 large-scale infrastructure projects worth P740 billion that will be undertaken from 2011 and beyond.

Under the PPP scheme, the government would be tapping the help of the private sector to fund the different projects.

Aside from the O&M contract of the MRT-3 and LRT-1, the five initial projects under the PPP program are the P1.6-billion Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Road Project; the P10.59-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway Phase II Project; and the ambitious P21-billion North Luzon Expressway-SLEX Connector Project.

Canilao said the government is also on track in its plan to bid out 10 PPP projects this year and another 10 next year.