MANILA, Philippines — The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code, signed by President Marcos on Dec. 5, will generate additional funds that will cover the Philippines’ P23-trillion infrastructure investment gap, according to Rep. Joey Salceda.

“The PPP Code (Republic Act 11966) move is towards a rules-based, transparent and efficient PPP framework that will help cover the P23-trillion infrastructure investment gap of the country,” Salceda said, adding that the measure has been a “pet bill” of Marcos back when he was still a senator.

The Philippines has been lagging behind its Asian neighbors in terms of foreign direct investments.

“There is great promise if we can get the system to implement large national projects on PPP bases, where we can transfer the costs of capital to the private sector and even the financial risks to the private sector, whilst giving the private sector to gain profit,” Salceda quoted Marcos as saying.

Neophyte lawmaker Bulacan 6th District Rep. Salvador Pleyto Sr. earlier said, “This is my first bill to become a law.”

“What is also good about this amendment to the BOT (build-operate-transfer) Law is that it prohibits issuance by courts, except by the SC, of a TRO and preliminary injunctions against all PPP projects. This is very important because projects can no longer be stalled,” Pleyto argued.

Other authors of the measure were Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Romeo Momo, 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Michael Romero, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Parañaque City 2nd District Rep. Gus Tambunting, BH party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera and Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto.

Salceda noted that the PPP Code raised the threshold to P15 billion for National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee approval.

The PPP Code also prohibits regulatory agencies from entering into and implementing PPP contracts that they regulate and allows the Commission on Audit to evaluate PPP projects.

“The new PPP Code does not suffer from long-standing defects of ambiguity. It is clearly specified which undertakings are not allowed. The process is outlined. The comparative challenge process is simple,” he said.

“There is Original Proponent Status, good for only one year upon acceptance by agency, and a comparative challenge within 90 days to one year, with 30 days right to match,” he added.

Nuclear energy

Meanwhile, Villafuerte earlier said that House Bill 9293, approved on third and final reading in November, sets the stage for the Marcos administration’s use of nuclear or atomic sources to attain energy security.

“The development by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of a national emergency plan for potential nuclear or radiological emergencies, plus the establishment of separate funds for the final disposition of SNF (spent nuclear fuel) and the eventual decommissioning of would-be nuclear power facilities, are on the must-do list of HB 9293 for our safe and secure use of atomic energy,” he said.

HB 9293 seeks the creation of the Philippine Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority to take over all regulatory functions concerning nuclear energy and radiation.