Local PPP Knowledge Corners:
Empowering local PPPs with PPPC’s Regional Presence
In 2017, the PPP Center (PPPC) launched its local PPP strategy not as a new initiative but as a more focused effort to enjoin private sector participation in regional and local development undertakings. Empowered by the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC) and the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, local government units (LGUs) have long been engaging private sector in infrastructure projects. Even water districts (WDs) and regionally based state universities and colleges (SUCs) embued with corporate powers, have long been conscious of the private sector’s value added in pursuing infrastructure and related facilities. The local PPP strategy’s intent was to strengthen these initiatives with emphasis on the key institutional capacity requirements, replicable project structures and more innovative service delivery mechanisms.
Establishing a Local Presence
The local PPP strategy is the Center’s response and contribution to the administration’s declaration to disperse development initiatives from the cities to the regions. The country’s investment priorities plan listed LGU PPPs as priority. Government’s response was to create more opportunities for investment by considering unsolicited proposals from the private sector. All of these demanded a more responsive approach to public private collaborations.
While the PPPC’s capacity building interventions for LGUs have been consistent and reliable since 2010, there’s been an emerging need for a more hands-on approach. Thankfully, the Center is now more empowered to do so with recently developed PPP Knowledge Initiatives – policy circulars on key institutional and project competency areas (e.g. criteria-based project selection/identification, stakeholders’ consultation, managing affected employees, monitoring protocols), template PPP documents (e.g. standard contract provisions, preferred risk allocation matrix that capture lessons and innovations from previous projects), and instructive policy and process guidelines that will further empower local implementing agencies (IAs) to do PPPs.
But how do we bring these knowledge and resources down to the regions when the Center does not have regional offices? It is also a relatively small organization given its nationwide scope and coverage as duly mandated by the BOT Law and Executive Orders 8 and 136 as the country’s central coordination, facilitation and monitoring agency for all BOT and PPP projects.
PPPC – NEDA Collaboration
It is in this light that the Center and its mother agency, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), decided to establish PPPC’s presence in the regions through the NEDA Regional Offices (NROs). This regional presence through the NROs will provide potential investors and local IAs initial information and assistance in doing PPPs.
Thus, the idea of a PPP knowledge corner was instituted. It is a mini resource center and library with online connection/link to the PPPC that provides LGUs access to the PPP knowledge available manned by our partner NROs.
Harmonizing Regional Coordination Efforts
The PPP Knowledge Corners also strengthen the NROs’ critical role as the region’s mandated institutional lead along with the Regional Development Council (RDC) to coordinate, consolidate and provide policy, institutional and programmatic guidance over local IAs to develop projects including PPPs in a manner that is aligned with the region’s development requirements and competitive advantages. Other regionally based regulatory or oversight departments and agencies (i.e. Interior and Local Government, Budget and Management, Environment and Natural Resources) as well as key non-state stakeholders (i.e. Regional/Local Chambers of Commerce, Non-Government Organizations, etc.) are also rightfully enjoined through this NEDA and Regional Development Council (RDC) led hosting of the PPP Knowledge Corners. Since its formal launching, the PPP Knowledge Corners now serve as the local PPP unit for all PPP knowledge and related requirements. The PPP Center has provided these NROs with capacity building initiatives and access to knowledge in PPPs. RDC meetings now include PPP updates as an agenda in its regional meetings.
As a result of the Center’s sustained capacity building program, the LGU’s knowledge on PPPs are improving.This include joint ventures (JV), drafting of local PPP codes/policies/guidelines, and more technical aspects of project structuring, procurement and contracting. A local PPP pipeline has been established and the PPP Center is providing the necessary technical support, capacity building initiatives and knowledge resources to assist them pursue their PPP project. In its entirety, the sustained capacity building led to build up of the local PPP pipeline.
Admittedly, these will not necessarily bring about quick solutions to the long overdue implementation of critical local infrastructure and development projects and services. A lot remains to be done to make that happen, and PPP is just one real and viable option. The good thing is that more and more local IAs are now seriously considering and pursuing PPPs as a solution to their infrastructure needs.
The PPP Center and its regional presence through the local PPP Knowledge Corners is a concrete response to that need — empowered by its partner NROs and continually driven by its vision to be the country’s PPP champion in the pursuit of country’s inclusive and sustainable development.