Key to Philippine growth is the public-private partnership projects started by the Aquino administration.

While Andre Palacios, PPP executive director, wants to “insulate the projects from partisan politics” industry sources feel that among the presidential candidates, Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas will most likely pursue the unfinished public-private partnership (PPP) projects left by the Aquino administration.

These include big ticket projects such as the P171-billion North-South Commuter Rail that will revive the railway going to Bicol, rebidding of the P123-billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike, Light Rail

Transit (LRT) line 6 extension to Dasmariñas in Cavite, LRT line 4 and buyout of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3.

There are also eight other PPP projects expected to be signed and awarded by the next administration that include five regional airports, Davao Sasa Port, LRT-2 and the road transport IT project.

Senator Grace Poe, who has been criticizing the mismanagement of MRT-3, is expected to focus on resolving the issue on the rails and further expand these to other areas in Metro Manila.

Poe also promised in the recent debates to revive the rail going to Bicol.

The proposed North-South Railway Project (NSRP) South Line covers Metro Manila to Legazpi City, Albay, plus a number of existing and proposed branch lines totaling approximately 653 kilometers.

Project proponents are wary of changes in policies specially for the awarded projects.

The Aquino administration has turned over 12 projects to the private sector of which three are operational –Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway, PPP for School Infrastructure Phase I and Automated Fare Collection System.

The major infrastructure projects that need to be prioritized by the next administration include the decongestion of the country’s premier airport Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The next government will also need to decide on the site of a bigger airport.

Currently, the P74.56-billionNAIA development project is subject for approval by several government agencies.

As of April 26, 2016,PPP data showed there are 24 projects in the pipeline, of which 11 projects are under procurement, three for pre-qualification bid submission, five pending National Economic and Development Authority board approval and five under feasibility studies. There are 17 projects that are still pending.

For the telecom industry, the country’s two giant telcos – Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Globe Telecom, Inc. – declined to name a particular candidate whom they believe would push for the industry’s growth.

“We have to be neutral,” said Ramon Isberto, PLDT spokesperson said but “we hope government will address the need to improve internet services in the country.”

“Our view is this requires the concerted effort of government and the private sector. Within that framework, some areas of possible cooperation come to mind. One is government action on our pending applications for 700 Mhz frequency allocations. Another area is the proposal to simplify the processes of granting permits to facilitate network roll out.

Yoly Crisanto, Globe senior vice president for Corporate Communications, also cited the need to focus on the efficient spectrum management and the need to distribute unused spectrum such as the 700 MHz to industry players.

“The presidential candidates should focus on addressing the core issues of the telco industry: filling the internet infrastructure gap by standardizing fees, and improving the process of permitting, right of way and site acquisition,” she added.

02 May 2016
By Myla Iglesias