GMA News, 25 December 2013

By Siegfrid O. Alegado


The Philippine government wants to have the option to buy private sector proposals for big-ticket state projects and bid them out to other viable investors.

Cosette Canilao, executive director at the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, said during the agency’s year-end briefing that this is one of the key changes to the Philippines’ decades-old Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law that the government is pushing for.

“We’ve also clarified the mechanism for unsolicited proposals,” she said of the salient provisions of the BOT Law amendment, which is currently undergoing final scrutiny by the Cabinet.

“For example, the government may opt to buy that unsolicited proposal and bid it out as solicited,” Canilao said.

The PPP Center is the office overseeing and reviewing projects under the flagship infrastructure program.

Canilao echoed other key changes to the BOT Law that the government wants.

These include lengthening the time frame for challenging an “purely” unsolicited proposal from the current 120 days to six months and institutionalization of the Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF), the fund used for feasibility studies and processes manuals on key infrastructure projects.

Even as a final Executive version of the law’s amendments is only likely come out next month, the proposed changes already have legislative sponsors in the 16th Congress.

“We’re moving ahead in Congress, and once we get the executive version, we can easily enhance it,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a recent interview, referring to the the draft law amendment.

Balisacan told GMA News Online: “We already have sponsors.”

Last October, Canilao said the government is likely to transmit the Executive version for the current Congress’ consideration in April or May next year.

But at the briefing, Canilao said the proposed changes are moving faster than expected.

“We’ve already touched based with both houses, and we’ve spoken to the ones in charge,” she said.

The House of Represenatives wants the BOT Law amendment taken up when it resumes sessions on January 20, the PPP executive noted.

Congress is currently on break for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. — BM, GMA News