MANILA, Philippines — Three unsolicited project proposals for rail, airport and flood control are expected to hurdle regulatory approval and rolled out next year, having been identified as priority infrastructure projects, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center said yesterday.

These private sector-initiated projects include the East West Rail Project of East West Rail Corp and Alloy MTD Group; New Manila International Airport Project in Bulacan of San Miguel Corp. (SMC); and the Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control, Coastal Defense and Expressway Project put forward by the Coastal Development Consortium of San Miguel Holdings Corp. and New San Jose Builders Inc.

PPP Center director Jeffrey Manalo said these projects have been granted original proponent status by the implementing agencies before being submitted to the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) for approval, meaning these are seen as projects that are worth pursuing and are in line with the administration’s infrastructure development strategy.

“As far as the PPP Center is concerned, we can confirm that (these are) the ones that are undergoing evaluation by the ICC, meaning these are the ones that have been given original proponent status by the agencies and have forwarded it to the ICC for evaluation,” he said.

“If an implementing agency determines that this (project) is worth pursuing, that is the only time that they give original proponent status for the project and submit it to the ICC,” he added.

Of the three proposals put forward by the private sector, the rail projects and the airport projects are seen as more urgent projects.

“Of the three, the more active ones in terms of the ongoing discussion at the ICC level that would be the East West Rail Project and the New Manila International Airport,” said Manalo.

PPP Center director for project development Lawrence Velasco said the government hopes to be able to subject these projects to a Swiss challenge by next year, in which third parties are urged to match or outdo the proposal.

“After approval by the ICC, it goes to negotiations and then Swiss challenge. Hopefully that is something that we can do next year,” he said.

The East West Rail project, which was endorsed by the Philippine National Railways (PNR), entails the construction and operation for 30 years of a nine-kilometer, 11-station elevated Light Rail Transit (LRT) line that would traverse Diliman, Quezon City to Lerma, Manila.

SMC’s P700-billion international airport in Bulacan would cover 2, 500 hectares of which 1, 168 hectares will be an airport complex while the remaining 1, 332 hectares will serve as a city complex. The gateway can be completed in six years upon approval.

The Manila Bay Flood Control project, meanwhile, involves the construction of a sea barrier and flood control system along Manila Bay together with an expressway that would link Metro Manila to Bataan.

PPP Center executive director Ferdinand Pecson said these big-ticket projects initiated by the private sector should have no problems hurdling the approval process so long as these conform with the rules set for unsolicited proposals such as non-provision of subsidies or guarantees.

By Czeriza valencia