PPP ACT. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center Executive Director Ma. Cynthia Hernandez graces the infrastructure forum of the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) on Oct. 10, 2022. Hernandez says the government aims a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Act to boost PPP projects in the country. (Screenshot from EJAP Zoom meeting)

MANILA – Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center Executive Director Ma. Cynthia Hernandez said the government aims to pass a PPP Law that will polish the current Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law to boost PPP projects across the country.

During the infrastructure forum hosted by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) co-presented by the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and PLDT, Inc. at the Philippine International Convention Center Monday, Hernandez said the agency is working with the legislative office to draft the bill to address ambiguities in the BOT Law and challenges in the PPP Program.

Hernandez said despite the government has recently introduced amendments to the BOT Law through revising the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), some ambiguities in the law cannot be resolved with IRR amendments.

She recommended scrapping the PHP300-million threshold for PPP projects to be reviewed by National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC).

“I would rather not have the cap in the law but in the IRR for it is easier to amend. As we’ve seen, we cannot amend a rate if it’s within the law,” she added.

Hernandez also bats for raising the cap for projects that needed NEDA-ICC review as PHP300 million projects are “no longer huge projects anymore” due to the movements in prices.

This also limits the project sizes that government entities want to pursue, she said.

“We want a law that enables PPPs in the country,” she added.

Expand PPPs to LGUs

Hernandez also encouraged the private sector to expand PPP projects to local government unit (LGU) level.

She said the enactment of a PPP Law will clarify how LGUs do PPP projects.

“In terms of appetite (from the LGUs), there’s been a lot. We have a lot of meetings with LGUs on PPP, and they signify they want to do PPPs,” Hernandez said, adding that most of these projects that LGUs are interested to enter under PPP are in water and transport sectors.

To date, the government has awarded a total of 199 PPP projects, 88 of which are at national level and 111 at local level amounting to PHP2.32 trillion.

There are also 74 PPP projects in the pipeline costing PHP2.258 trillion. (PNA)