Source:  Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The government, which is set to bid out 10 major Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects this year, is looking into projects in the health and education sectors for possible inclusion in the PPP lineup.

Cosette V. Canilao, deputy executive director of the PPP Center, told reporters that “10 or more” projects would be auctioned off in 2011. Five major transportation projects have been announced and the rest may not necessarily be among those listed during the PPP program launch last year as fresh proposals are cropping up.

Among the health and education projects being considered are the modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Hospital, which was estimated to cost P4.3 billion, and the construction of classrooms to fill the gap of 150,000 throughout the country, according to officials of the PPP Center.

Referring to the hospital project, which was proposed by the Department of Health (DoH), Canilao told reporters, “This is a big and complex project. The objective is to raise the quality of care.”

The success of this project will easily build momentum for similar projects in the health sector, she said.

Canilao said the cost estimate of P4.3 billion included the procurement of new equipment and an information technology system. To keep healthcare affordable amid the modernization, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. needs to get involved, she said.

The DoH is also proposing a project to develop the 5-in-1 vaccine pentavalent and to modernize other public hospitals in the country.

The pentavalent vaccine combines five different vaccines in one injection to protect people from five diseases: Haemophilus influenzae type B disease, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus and Hepatitis B.

According to studies, children immunized with the 5-in-1 vaccine do not need additional vaccination for the Diphtheria vaccine or the Hepatitis B vaccine.

In the meantime, the Department of Education (DepEd) is in early talks with the PPP Center on how to address the classroom gap of 150,000.

Ronaldo F. Corpuz, who heads the PPP Center’s project development service, said details on the classroom project were still under discussion, including the proposal to use a modular system in building the classrooms, and whether the private sector will simply build the classrooms or manage operations of public schools as well.

There are also proposed multipurpose dam projects being discussed with the National Irrigation Administration.

Canilao and Corpuz said the PPP Center was also creating templates for small projects such as construction of bus terminals, public markets and slaughterhouses, which can be replicated in several local government units (LGUs).