MANILA – A House of Representatives panel on Wednesday approved a measure seeking to strengthen public-private partnerships to help boost economic growth in the country.
In a virtual hearing, the House Committee on Public Works and Highways, chaired by Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona approved the substitute bill to House Bills 77, 1244, 4873, 5452, and 6575 or the proposed “Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Rationalization Act.”
The bill aims to ensure better transparency in transactions, make the PPP Center more efficient, and intensify the cooperation between the public and private sectors.
It provides that implementing agencies would include development plans, strategies, and investment programs in the identified priority PPP projects.
This ensures that PPPs are aligned with the national and local development objectives of the government.
Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, author of House Bill 77, said a project would be considered as a priority based on the following principles: a) effectiveness in meeting government objectives, b) value for money, c) accountability and transparency, d) consumer rights, e) affordability, f) public access, and g) safety and security.
Salceda said the bill proposes major reforms to help boost the PPP program, among them, providing clearer and simpler rules for faster project implementation to foster competition, which is what the government needs as it rolls out big-ticket projects.
It sets clearer parameters on government undertakings and investment recovery schemes, procedures on project approval and procurement, fiscal rules on contingent liabilities, and other vital concerns.
The measure, he said, aims to promote public infrastructure financing by including joint ventures as PPP variants, opening capital markets for the financing of PPP projects in addition to equity and loans, and defining the roles and participation of local government units in PPPs.
To enhance fair competition and protect the public interest, he said the PPP bill proposes to improve the framework on unsolicited PPP projects by allowing private sector proposals for projects under the government’s priority list and by providing for a more competitive challenge process.
Such measures are expected to address the issues and challenges faced by the government in handling unsolicited proposals by striking a balance between fast-tracking the processing of unsolicited proposals and ensuring that the competition generates the best offer favorable to the public.
The bill also seeks to institutionalize the PPP Center and PPP Governing Board.
A risk management fund shall provide a reliable pool from which disbursements on government obligations on liabilities that have materialized can be drawn.
An initial seed fund of PHP3 billion shall be allotted, according to the bill. (PNA)