Source:  Philippine Daily Inquirer, 05 December 2011

Amid all the criticisms it has gotten for the slow pace at which it is implementing infrastructure projects, the government is giving its flagship public-private partnership program another push with an investment briefing for potential investors on Monday.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, Monday’s briefing “will give an overview of opportunities in infrastructure development, particularly in PPP, which aims to raise the profile of PPP not only in the context of direct opportunities but also in harnessing the potential of PPP to boost the construction industry in the country.”

Also to be discussed are the rules of engagement for the engineering and construction projects that will be presented to interested investors today.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio, Public-Private Partnership Center executive director Eleazar Ricote and Bases Conversion and Development Authority president and chief executive Arnel Paciano Casanova will be making the project presentations on behalf of the government.

Also attending the event are United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Jeremy Browne and Philippine Constructors Association incoming president Augusto Manalo.

The government launched the PPP program last year, shortly after the start of the Aquino administration’s term.

Ten big-ticket infrastructure projects were lined up as priority projects, with the operations and maintenance contract for the EDSA Metro Rail Transit 3 and the Light Rail Transit Line 1 scheduled to be auctioned first.

While the bidding was opened to potential investors and several groups have already expressed interest in participating, the submission of bids was shelved when losing vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II took over the helm of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC).

The government’s plan for the MRT-3 and LRT-1 O&M contracts continued to remain unknown as the DoTC had yet to make its recommendation.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima had earlier said the O&M contracts were currently being prepared for bidding. He later backtracked on his statement, saying he did not want to preempt the results of the review being conducted by the DoTC on the projects.