Aquino: No promises to make PPP implementation faster

Chrisee Dela Paz
Aquino: No promises to make PPP implementation faster
Instead of discussing actions to prevent delays in the implementation of public-private partnership projects, President Aquino asks for public's understanding in his last State of the Nation Address

MANILA, Philippines – Although he highlighted victories in the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) thrust, President Benigno Aquino III did not make any promises to hasten the implementation of infrastructure deals and ensure delays will not plague the construction of such projects. (READ: PH’s PPP thrust: Work in progress)

In his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, July 27, Aquino opened his speech by noting July 24’s inauguration of the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX) – the first PPP deal completed in his term.

Sa atin pong mga sinundan: Halos magmakaawa ang pamahalaan sa pribadong sektor na lumahok sa mga proyekto. Ngayon sila na ang sumusuyo (under the previous administrations, it was as if the government had to beg the private sector just to gain their participation. Now, they’re the ones approaching us),” Aquino said.

The P2.01-billion ($44.44-million) MCX (formerly called Daang-Hari South Luzon Expressway Link Road) was awarded to Ayala Corporation in December 2011. But it was only on July 24 when it was opened to motorists. The government received a premium of P925 million ($20.31 million) from this PPP project.

MCX is one of the 5 PPP projects the Aquino administration targets to complete by mid-2016. 

The other 4 projects are the following:  

Automated Fare Collection System project 

Cost: P1.72 billion ($38.03 million)

Project owner: Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation

Award Date: January 2014

Status: Began public trial run at the Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT2) on July 20; completion set in September this year

Phase 1 PPP School Infrastructure

Cost: P16.43 billion ($363.29 million) 

Project owner: BF Corporation and Riverbanks Development Corporation, Megawide Construction Corporation and Citicore Investment Holdings

Award Date: October 2012 

Status: 9,053 classrooms delivered or 97% completed as of July 27; target completion in September

Phase 2 PPP School Infrastructure

Cost: P3.86 billion ($85.35 million)

Project owner: Megawide Construction Corporation and the group of BSP Company Incorporated and Vicente Lao Construction

Award date: October 2013

Status: More than 1,000 classrooms delivered or 32.72% completed as of July 27; target completion in December

Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway Phase II

Cost: P15.86 billion ($350.69 million)

Project owner: San Miguel Corporation

Award date: May 2013

Status: 48% completed as of July 15; target completion in October 2016

In praise of PPP Center

In his speech, Aquino praised the PPP Center, headed by executive director Cosette Canilao, for the faster roll out of projects compared to the past 3 administrations. (READ: Aquino: More PPP projects awarded than past 3 admins)

“Kapag pinagsama natin ang solicited PPP projects ng nakaraang 3 administrasyon, ang suma-tutal: 6 na proyekto. Sa atin, may 50 proyekto na: Ang 10 dito, awarded na; ang 13, nasa bidding; habang 27 naman ang nakapila pa. Kayo na po ang magkumpara sa pagkakaiba,” (The combined solicited PPP projects of the previous 3 administrations: 10. Under our administration, 50: 10 awarded, 13 under bidding, and 27 in the pipeline. It’s up to you to compare the difference),” Aquino said in his speech.

Since its inception in 2010, PPP’s pace has been criticized as slow.

Instead of discussing ways to prevent delays in the implementation of the PPP projects, Aquino asked for the public’s understanding.

“Di na baleng hindi ako ang mag-groundbreaking o ribbon-cutting. Ang mahalaga: Gawing pulido at naaayon sa batas ang mga proyekto, para oras na maaprubahan ito, dire-diretso ang pagpapatupad; maski sino ang sumuri, papasa ang kalidad ng ating ipinatatayo. Ang pagtitiis ng ating mga Boss, maiibsan, kundi man matatapos na (“It doesn’t matter if I won’t do the ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting. What’s important is the projects are to be implemented well so anyone who examines them will see that we’re building quality infrastructure. Our bosses’ sacrifices, if not alleviated, will soon be over),” Aquino said.

But the government admits that the country’s PPP thrust is a work in progress.

“It’s not perfect but it’s way better than where we started,” PPP Center’s Canilao told Rappler. “I can say it would be easier for the next [administration] as we created a template on how they can work better.”

The government continues to entice investors in more than 40 major PPP deals worth about $18.1 billion and the robust pipeline of deals should sustain the program beyond Aquino’s term.

In his final SONA, Aquino said the government received a premium of P64.1 billion ($1.41 billion), which all goes to the national coffers, he said, to the audience’s applause. – Rappler.com

$1 = P45.53

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