British Embassy Manila

The British Embassy through UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) organised a seminar Wednesday featuring experts from British firms companies to share their experience and expertise in every aspect of the PPP programme, including sustainable infrastructure.

Cosette Canilao, Executive Director of the PPP Centre; Assistant Secretary George Esguerra of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and British Ambassador Stephen Lillie at the seminar.

The seminar is part of a trade mission with British firms keen on getting involved in the development of PPP projects in the Philippines and within the region. These are professional service firms dealing with transaction and legal advisory, project packaging and finance, infrastructure management and technical consultancy and similar areas. The activities are part of the UK Government’s continuing support for the Philippines’ initiative on public-private partnerships.

“We have a wide and expert range of top quality British companies with experience of PPP right from the start – from the project design, the financing, the legal issues, to the delivery, the engineering , construction – to the end of the project, to the operation and management,“ said British Ambassador Stephen Lillie.

The seminar gathered over 100 participants from industry associations, project developers and contractors, financial institutions and government agencies. The seminar featured speakers from companies including: PWC Professional Advisors Inc, P & A – Grant Thornton, Baker & McKenzie (Quisumbing Torres), Ashurst LLP, Pinsent Masons LLP, HSBC, Halcrow, Atkins Global, SERCO and Tony Gee. They provided insights on many aspects of the PPP process, such as key issues in developing market PPP, risk management, key legal issues and considerations for foreign investors and financiers, critical success factors in the delivery of PPPs and sustainable planning and delivery of urban infrastructure.

Other UK companies who participated in mission activities included Arup, Gammon Construction, Systech, Pointer Ltd, Andrews & Wykeham, E & Y, and March Publishing.

Aside from the seminar, the trade mission delegates also attended a briefing hosted by the Board of Investments (BOI) with representatives of the different government agencies with PPP projects, and the Urban Forum 2011 of the Asian Development Bank.

For its part, the PPP Centre is keen on engaging in a dialogue with prospective private partners from the UK. Cosette Canilao, Executive Director of the PPP Centre said, “We look forward to dialogue and to hear inputs and suggestions as we acknowledge UK’s expertise and experience on PPP and infrastructure in general. Our projects need experience and high-calibre professional service firms or organisations in the areas of infrastructure and development project packaging and structuring, financing and delivery, transaction advisory, consulting and other similar or related activities.”

Since the PPP programme was launched and the PPP centre was inaugurated, the UK government has worked supportively with the Philippine Government. This year, it brought in experts from the PPP Centre’s British counterpart Infrastructure UK to engage with various Philippine Government departments, ran workshops with national and local government officials, and work with the PPP Centre to develop a manual for local government on the application of PPP.

The British Embassy is also partnering with the Development Academy of the Philippines on a project to build the capacity of local government units (LGUs) in maximising PPP opportunities through a series of workshops for government officials. The latest in the series is the one-day orientation-workshop for Region IV-A (Calabarzon) held on 14 to 15 November at Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila. The workshop gave LGUs the opportunity to clarify the context of the PPP scheme and explore possible local PPP projects along with the identification of other services that the PPP Center provides. Cavite Governor Juanito Victor C. Remulla, Jr., Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste and Lucena City Mayor Barbara Ruby C. Talaga led the delegation of LGUs for the region. The orientation-workshop ended with presentations by each province on viable PPP projects, which will be developed later on into a full feasibility study with advisory and technical assistance from the PPP Centre.

“The UK is really the home of public-private partnerships. It was the UK Government’s private finance initiative of 1992 which really put public-private partnerships on the map internationally. In over two decades, we have built up an unrivalled pool of expertise; an unrivalled breadth and depth of expertise in the delivery of different types of public-private partnership projects,” concluded Lillie.