A senior lawmaker on Tuesday said it is now simpler for local government units (LGU) to carry out massive projects in their respective localities as a result of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s recent signing of a law upgrading the public-private partnership (PPP) program to encourage the private sector to invest more in the government’s infrastructure modernization and other flagship development ventures.

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, in a statement, highlighted the positive impact of the new law on encouraging private sector investment in government infrastructure modernization.

According to Villafuerte, Republic Act (RA) 11966 allows LGU executives to go ahead right away on their PPP projects with private-sector partners, for so long as these proposed undertakings do not require national government (NG) funding, have been endorsed by their local development councils (LDC), and have secured prior approval by their respective sanggunian or legislative councils.

Republic Act (RA) 11966, or the “PPP Code of the Philippines,” which was one of the six laws signed by the President in December before the Congress adjourned for its five-week yearend break, “puts in place an enabling environment for private enterprises to invest big in financing, designing, building, operating, and maintaining flagship infrastructure and other development projects of both the national and local governments,” Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte, a lead author of RA 11966, emphasized its focus on integrating climate resilience, environmental sustainability, and gender and development (GAD) policies into PPP projects.

Under the new law, national PPPs exceeding P15 billion require approval from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board chaired by the President.

National PPPs below P15 billion only need the approval from the respective heads of implementing agencies. Local PPPs without NG funding require approval from the respective sanggunians of implementing LGUs, while those with NG financing must be submitted to the Neda Board-ICC.

However, the PPP Code states that local PPPs with NG financing shall be submitted to the Neda Board-ICC for approval, upon review and recommendation by the concerned regional development councils (RDC).

Villafuerte also highlighted the collaboration between the PPP Center and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) to promote well-structured and financially viable infrastructure projects via PPPs.

To expedite PPP implementation, RA 11966 includes provisions prohibiting courts, except the Supreme Court, from issuing restraining orders against project implementation. Errant judges may face suspension, and any relief issued in violation of the law is deemed void.

Villafuerte said PPPs open opportunities for private firms in search of new business locations and thereby foster a better environment for investments outside Metro Manila and other major urban centers.

During Villafuerte’s term as governor, CamSur became the first LGU to enact a PPP ordinance, which provided the guidelines and procedures for the provincial government to enter into a joint venture (JV) agreement with the private sector.

Jovee Marie N. de la Cruz
January 23, 2024