One of the cornerstones of President Benigno Aquino III’s economic policy under his new administration is the development of the country’s much needed infrastructure projects through public-private sector partnership. During the conference dubbed as Infrastructure Philippines 2010, Investing and Financing in Public-Private Partnership Projects, held from November 17 to 19, 2010, the government announced its infrastructure agenda and the different projects open for public-private partnerships. These projects are mostly in the transportation, tourism, energy, agriculture and health sectors.
In line with this emphasis on private sector participation in infrastructure projects, President Aquino previously issued Executive Order No. 8 on September 9, 2010 reorganizing and re-naming the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) Center to the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center. The executive order also transferred the PPP Center from being an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
According to NEDA Secretary Cayetano Paderanga, Jr., the PPPs will be undertaken mainly under the framework of the BOT Law and its implementing regulations. Thus, the role of the BOT Center, now PPP Center, is important.
Among the powers and functions of the PPP Center under EO No. 8 are:
1. Assist the implementing agencies (IAs) and local government units (LGUs) in addressing impediments and bottlenecks in the implementation of PPP projects;
2. Provide advisory services, technical assistance and training to IAs and LGUs in PPP project preparation and development;
3. Monitor and facilitate the implementation of priority PPP programs and projects;
4. Recommend plans, policies and implementing guidelines related to PPP in consultation with appropriate oversight committees, IAs and LGUs;
5. Manage and administer a revolving fund for the preparation of business case, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies and tender documents for PPP programs and projects; and
6. Prepare reports on the implementation of PPP programs and projects for submission to the President each year.
According to EO No. 8, the project approval process for qualified solicited PPPs shall be completed within six months subject to existing laws, rules and regulations. The PPP Center should help in ensuring that this timetable is achieved.