Philippine PPP in high gear

The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program moved up a gear this year with the surge in the submission of unsolicited proposals (USP), the reinvigorated involvement of local governments to pursue PPPs, the issuance of mission-critical policies, and the strategic building of partnerships with key institutions.

This was the welcome message of the PPP Center to the members of the press during the agency’s Year-End Press Conference on December 20, 2018 at the Center’s office in Quezon City.

The private sector has proposed over PHP1.4 Trillion worth of unsolicited proposals to national government agencies and local implementing agencies (IAs) as reported by the PPP Center during the agency’s Year-End Press Conference on December 20, 2018.

“In 2018, the number of unsolicited projects added to the pipeline is 17 projects worth around PHP1.4 trillion. This is in addition to the existing pipeline of 30 solicited projects worth PHP243.28 billion,” the PPP Center said.

“These figures show the substantial contribution of PPPs to the country’s infrastructure agenda. Interest from both investors and the local government to do PPPs remains strong and encouraging. The PPP Center has been continuously providing its assistance in properly structuring solicited projects and evaluating unsolicited proposals,” the agency added.

Unsolicited projects pipeline

The openness of the Duterte Administration for the private sector to propose unsolicited projects to national and local governments resulted in a significant portion of unsolicited proposals pouring into the current pipeline of PPP projects in the country.

These unsolicited projects include: Preservation and Development of Laguna de Bay, 50-year Integrated Development Plan for Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA), C5 MRT-10, MRT-11, Modified LRT6, Davao International Airport Development, Operation, and Management, Davao People Mover, Upgrade, Expansion, Operations and Maintenance of the New Bohol International Airport (Panglao), Quezon City Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility, Pampanga Bulk Water Supply (Districts 1, 3 & 4), Pampanga Bulk Water Supply (District 2), O&M and Facility Upgrade of Kalibo International Airport, Fort Bonifacio-Makati Skytrain, Redevelopment of Panabo Town Center, PEZA Electronic Payment Solution, IT Project for the City of Naga, Cebu-UNLAD BAYAN Local Government Information System, and Kalibo Slaughterhouse.

Local PPP projects

As part of the PPP Center’s expanded Local PPP Strategy, the agency has intensified its efforts in providing technical assistance to the development of local PPP projects. One project is the Baggao Water Supply Project, which is set to receive bid submission from the private sector in February 2019.

There are also several green projects involving solid waste management being undertaken by local governments that the PPP Center is currently assisting. These include the Cagayan De Oro Septage Management Project, which is already approved for procurement, and the Cebu City Solid Waste Management Project, which is under development. Meanwhile, the unsolicited Quezon City Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility Project is set to receive comparative bid proposals from interested private sector investors on January 31, 2019.

Meanwhile, the PPP Center monitored this year the development of 68 local PPP projects in their early stages, which are well distributed throughout the country: 20 in Luzon, 23 in Visayas, and 25 in Mindanao. Vertical infrastructure projects make up most of the PPPs, with 45 projects, followed by 16 from the energy and solid waste management sectors, 14 from water supply and sanitation, and 3 from other sectors.

Improving the PPP policy environment

The PPP Center is also focusing on strengthening policies to address demands and concerns in project development and implementation. In 2018, it has come up with crucial guidelines approved by the PPP Governing Board, including the (1) Guidelines on Managing Unsolicited Proposals under Republic Act (RA) No. 6957 as Amended by RA 7718; (2) Framework on PPP Center’s Assistance on Joint Venture Agreements; (3) Amendment on the Guidelines on Appointment of Probity Advisors for PPP Procurement; and (4) Safeguards in PPP: Mainstreaming Environmental, Displacement, Social, and Gender Concerns.

Meanwhile, the proposed PPP Act is now pending transmittal to the Plenary Affairs Bureau for numbering and is set to be scheduled for second reading after the Committee on Public Works and Highways adopted the draft substitute bill comprised of nine consolidated House Bills on PPPs.

Charting new territories

In 2019, the PPP Center will add more green projects that have climate resiliency components to address the serious threat of climate change in the Philippines, particularly for vulnerable areas, in partnership with the private sector. The Center’s Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF) is set to support IAs in developing projects that are urban resilient and that address climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Another area that the PPP Program has its focus on is the health sector, where projects are expected to help provide access to universal health care for Filipinos. The Center has started assisting the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman with its Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Operation & Maintenance Project and the UP Cancer Center in Manila. The tourism sector will also share the spotlight soon, as the PPP Center has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) on November 20, 2018.

With all these developments of PPPs in the Philippines, the PPP Center reiterated the strong value of PPPs in addressing the needs of the public for better public services and facilities.

“We see PPPs as a valuable means to contribute to the realization of the development goals of the country. PPPs have the means of delivering what is needed and together with the support of the private sector, development partners and other stakeholders, the government becomes more efficient and more responsive to the needs of the people,” the agency said.

The PPP Center, as the coordinating and monitoring agency of PPPs, will ensure that the Philippine PPP environment will continue to be more attractive to international and local investors, and the national and local governments are adept and ready in implementing more PPP projects with the private sector and other PPP stakeholders.