The leadership of the House of Representatives on Monday backed the call of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. for local government units (LGUs) to enter into more partnerships with the private sector for their infrastructure and services development and expansion.

Speaker Martin Romualdez, in news a statement, said engaging in public private partnerships (PPP) would free up funds that LGUs could use for other vital public services.

“I support the appeal of President Bongbong Marcos for LGUs to get into more PPPs to speed up growth in the regions, which in turn will generate employment and livelihood opportunities for our people,” said Romualdez.

“It would also discharge LGUs from the responsibility of running infrastructure projects that, based on the experience of the government, are better managed by the private sector,” Romualdez added.

Romualdez also lauded the Iloilo City government led by Mayor Jerry Treñas, a former congressman, for entering into a PPP with SM Prime Holdings for the redevelopment of two city-owned public markets.

Recently, the Iloilo City government signed a 25-year lease agreement with SM Prime Holdings Inc. for the redevelopment of the Central Market and Iloilo Terminal Market.

The SM made a commitment to allocate about P3 billion to fund the redevelopment.

According to the agreement, the partnership will be at no cost to the city and is expected to benefit about 2,800 market vendors.

The Speaker pointed out that aside from public markets, there are a number of projects LGUs could offer to private investors for funding and development arrangement, such as toll roads, hospitals, irrigation systems, and housing areas.

These could easily attract private funders because such projects would not run out of customers and users, he added.

Romualdez noted that people in many highly urbanized and populous areas in the regions are experiencing Metro Manila-type traffic congestion due to lack of roads and development has been focused in the town centers.

“LGUs could go into PPPs for diversion roads that would decongest these areas and promote faster travel,” he said.

He said LGUs could tap big companies, adding the Iloilo City-SM market development project would benefit thousands of vendors and small, medium and micro entrepreneurs.

Earlier, President Marcos encouraged LGUs to go into more PPPs during a meeting with officers of the League of Cities of the Philippines in Malacañang on Tuesday.

“There are plenty of opportunities, especially in infrastructure…Local governments generally cannot do it by themselves. We have to find partners, we have to find local partners, we have to find investors. You’re used to that,” Marcos told the mayors.

AUGUST 8, 2022