A measure institutionalizing and strengthening the public-private partnership (PPP) program is one step closer to becoming a law after hurdling the House committee on appropriations.

Voting 16-2, the panel approved the proposed Public-Private Partnership Act of 2015. It is considered one of the priority measures of the Aquino administration.

The substitute bill seeks to recognize the indispensable role of the private sector as the main engine for national growth and development and create an enabling environment for PPPs, Liberal Party (LP) Rep. Isidro Ungab of Davao said.

The measure defines PPP as a contractual arrangement between the implementing agency and the project proponent for the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance or any combination thereof, of an infrastructure facility, in which the project proponent bears significant risk, management responsibility or both.

Under the bill, PPP projects may be contracted under any of the following arrangements: build and transfer, build-lease-and-transfer, build-own-and-operate, build-operate-and-transfer, build-transfer-and-operate; contract-add-and-operate, develop-operate-and-transfer, joint venture, operations and maintenance, rehabilitate-operate-and-transfer, and supply-and-operate.

In undertaking a PPP project, government owned- and -controlled corporations or any of the subsidiaries shall secure the approval of the department head to which they are attached. If the procurement is undertaken by the department or agency, the governing board of the GOCC shall adhere to the approval of the approving body and shall give its full cooperation in bidding the project.

To encourage government agencies to work with the private sector, the bill states that PPP projects in excess of P1 billion shall be entitled to incentives as provided by the Omnibus Investment Code, upon prior endorsement of the PPP Center and registration by the project proponent with the Board of Investments.

The measure mandates the PPP Center to ensure that Congress and the general public are provided with adequate, timely and relevant information pertaining to the priority PPP projects.

Public biddings for PPP projects shall be conducted under a single or two-stage system. The procedures for public bidding shall be transparent and competitive, including one-on-one meetings with prequalified bidders.

The contract shall be awarded to the bidder who has passed the pre-qualification stage after having satisfied the minimum financial, organizational and legal standards required under the measure; has passed the technical proposal evaluation; and has submitted the most favorable financial bid based on parameters defined in the bid documents.

In the event a contract is revoked, cancelled or terminated, either contracting party shall compensate the other pursuant to terms as defined in the contract.

The measure provides that all PPP contracts shall include provisions on the use of the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The contracting parties shall be given complete freedom to choose which venue and forum shall govern their dispute, as well as the rules and procedures to be followed in resolving them.

The proposed PPP law is authored by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Liberal Party Rep. Romero Quimbo of Marikina, and LP Rep. Ronald Cosalan of Benguet. – VS, GMA News

14 December 2015
By Xian Arcangel