The House Committee on Public Works on Thursday approved a new Public Private Partnership law, which seeks to unlock “trillions” in corporate and private sector funds for infrastructure projects in the country.
House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda, one of the authors of the bill, said funds from the PPP law would supplement the country’s public resources.
The proposed PPP law is included in the priority bills of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
“There is at least P27 trillion in financial resources available in the banking sector, and at least P600 billion annually in just the large conglomerates, every year for private sector financing of PPPs. We need that with current elevated debt levels,” Salceda said.
The lawmaker said that the expertise, operational flexibility, and network of the private sector would be crucial in completing high-priority, big-ticket projects.
“More than just the financing, it’s the private sector’s ability to get things done. We need that,” he said.
The House public works committee approved the substitute bill drafted by the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office and other executive agencies with the committee.
The proposal sets clearer rules and definitions on unsolicited and solicited proposals, the approval mechanisms, governing institutions for PPPs, contract terms, and others.
Salceda, however, flagged concerns about the transition between the old PPP regime under the Build-Operate-Transfer Law and the proposed measure.
Salceda said, “Since the new measure will abolish the old law, we need a clear transition framework.”
The lawmaker said that the implementing agencies “must ensure that the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) are promptly drafted and issued so that we can avoid being in regulatory limbo. That has been the case for several crucial laws, including the PSA amendments.”
Salceda said he found that at least 36 provisions in the proposal that require further elaboration in the IRR, “so, we need a timeline for the issuance of the IRRs.”
Salceda especially insisted on the definition for “material adverse government action” or MAGA which tends to be a cause for litigation between government and the private sector, and which tends to delay projects.
“MAGA is the toughest bone of contention in PPPs, so we best resolve that in the law already,” Salceda added.
“This is the third time I am sponsoring this measure. I hope this time around, we get it done. This is the first time the PPP law was mentioned as a SONA priority. So, I am very hopeful,” he added.
By JOVEE MARIE DE LA CRUZ
NOVEMBER 18, 2022