Source: Business World, 22 November 2011


DAVAO CITY — Although five projects in Mindanao are in the pipeline under the government’s public-private partnership program (PPP), the agency tasked to facilitate all these proposals remains in the dark as to the projects’ status.

Ronaldo F. Corpus, head of the PPP Center’s project development service, said the updates from the local government units (LGUs) and private sector contacts on these initiatives have not been as regular as they would have liked.

“These projects have been identified since November 2010, but the last e-mail we had was last month,” he said.

Mindanao projects

The five Mindanao projects on the PPP list are the Mindanao Railway System (Northern Mindanao), Laguindingan airport (Misamis Oriental), Davao Port (Davao City), Tagum-Davao-General Santos Road (Davao-Central Mindanao regions), and bridges all over the island.

Under the guidelines, the PPP Center would work on the approval of all proposed projects within six months.

Mr. Corpus said that they have not estimated the actual project costs prior to the feasibility studies and bidding.

The PPP requirement, however, is to take up only projects with an investment above P200 million. Thus, the conservative estimated total cost for the five projects will not be less than P1 billion.

“Maybe [concerned officials] think that we are the PPP Center and it’s our job to facilitate so we should be the ones to run after [those projects],” he said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano W. Panderanga said some of the projects could not take off even from the feasibility study stage.

For example, the Mindanao railway plan is already on its fifth feasibility study since the four previous reports have already become outdated.

He said there are also two or three transportation programs for Mindanao under the PPP being handled by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC).

Ma. Lourdes D. Lim, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director in the region, said the lack of updates could just be a result of miscommunication as the LGUs may have been waiting on the PPP Center to initiate follow-up messages.

She said NEDA would include two more projects in Davao City, the Sta. Ana Port Development and the food processing complex, on the Mindanao PPP list as she noted there are already interested investors for these projects although she declined to identify these groups.

Another reason for the slowdown is the change in leadership of the DoTC, which handles eight of the 10 big-ticket projects announced by the Aquino administration last year.

Among the projects that will be pursued under the PPP are the Cavite-Laguna Highway (Cavite side costing P12 billion and Laguna side, P8 billion), SLEx-NLEx Link Connector (P20 billion), C-6 Expressway and Global Link (P54 billion), NAIA Expressway Phase 2 (P14 billion), C-6 Extension (P18 billion), Daang Hari-SLEx Link (P2 billion), and Dalton Pass in Cagayan Valley (P12 billion).

Ms. Lim also said the Regional Development Council has received proposals for the construction of bridges all over southern Mindanao, particularly in far-flung municipalities. — Joel B. Escovilla