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MANILA, Philippines – To address the horrendous Metro Manila traffic that has dragged down productivity, the government will “roll out” all stalled public-private partnership (PPP) projects by 2017, the new socioeconomic planning secretary said.
Among these PPP deals are the P108.10-billion deal to develop, operate, and maintain 5 regional airports; a P23.2-billion connector road project linking the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the 19-kilometer elevated railway from Niog, Bacoor, to Dasmariñas in Cavite along the Aguinaldo Highway; and the P123-billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike.
“All of those [are expected to be bid out] between now and the end of 2017, or maybe even earlier. They will be rolled out by 2017 unless there are problems, but I think all of them can go,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Ernesto Pernia said on the sidelines of an economic meeting in Pasay City on Tuesday, July 5.
The country’s transportation department under the previous administration failed to set a deadline of submission of bids for the rehabilitation of 5 regional airports: Iloilo, Bacolod, Bohol, Davao, and Laguindingan. Prospective bidders for the LRT6 project had asked that the submission of pre-qualification documents be moved to September 9.
Under the previous administration, the Department of Justice moved the bid submission for its regional prison project to April 20, 2016, from March 22 of the same year, citing a request from a bidder.
PPP Center Executive Director Andre Palacios had earlier urged the implementing agencies of the PPP projects to set the projects in motion as soon as possible, but he did not succeed. (READ: 5 failed, shelved PPP projects under Aquino admin)
“[T]his administration will not do what the last administration did, [which was] to stop a project for two years. We will just continue them,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said during a press briefing on Tuesday, July 5.
Pernia told reporters that in the case of the Makati-Pasay-Taguig Mass Transit System Loop, “the NEDA board will review [it] once the FS (feasibility study) is done.”
Projects that remained in the Aquino administration’s PPP pipeline are estimated to be worth around P580 billion, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo. (READ: Postponing 7 PPP deals means delaying public service – PPP chief)
Cut bureaucratic procedures
During the last administration, Dominguez estimates that getting PPP projects from newspaper advertisements to the tarmac took an average of 29 months. (READ: Aquino: No promises to make PPP implementation faster)
“We can cut that down to maybe 18 to 20 months through speedier and more pro-active processing of these projects,” Dominguez had told reporters.
Pernia said that his office will review processes and assess how to hasten the approval of PPP deals.
“There are many layers of approval, so we were thinking of reducing the layer and the number of departments that have to approve the project,” he added.
To accelerate the process of implementing PPP projects, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said during the briefing that the new administration is planning to implement 24/7 construction for all major infrastructure projects in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
“We are considering 24/7 construction for all major Metro Manila projects and maybe projects in Cebu and Davao. Don’t be surprised if constructions are going on in the middle of the night,” Diokno told reporters.
Pernia said current PPP Center chief Palacios “will be retained for a while” so as not to disrupt ongoing projects and to have time to train his replacement. Palacios assumed the post only on March 8, following the resignation of Cosette Canilao.
Pernia said the current PPP Center chief “has been doing a good job.” – Rappler.com