MANILA, Philippines - The government may bid out as few as five public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects this year, half of its target, because studies and plans are taking longer than expected to complete, Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio said.
"At the rate studies are being done, we might not hit 10," Panlilio told reporters after a briefing. "Seven are possible" through the first quarter of next year.
According to Panlilio, the five projects are the the Daang Hari-SLEX toll road, the NAIA Expressway (NAIAX), the NLEX-SLEX connector road, the MRT extension, the LRT-2 extension and the operating contract for MRT and LRT-1.
The Department of Public Works and Highways yesterday announced the start of the bidding process for the Daang Hari-SLEX, making it the first scheduled PPP project. The MRT-LRT1 contract was originally the first but it was shelved after Transport Secretary Jose "Ping" de Jesus resigned and was replaced by former Senator Mar Roxas, President Aquino’s running mate in last year’s elections. Secretary Roxas said he will study whether the operation of the trains needs to be bid out all.
In an interview today, PPP Center Executive Director Phil Torio said the bidding process for NAIAX and the NLEX-SLEX connector may be started this year but there may not be time for final bids. A health-related project and DOTC projects may also be launched after Roxas reviews them, he said.
"Once we get started, dere-derecho na yan (the pace will pick up)," Torio said.
While the first deadline for the Daang Hari-SLEX bidding is in September, this is for pre-qualification documents. The government is targeting December for final bids and January for awarding, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Salcedo said yesterday in an ABS-CBN News Channel interview.
"We’re trying to hit early December for the final bid submission for this PPP project," Singson said. "We should be able to award early next year, January is our target date. So that means once submissions are made early December, we'll work during the holidays and make the final determination and award January of 2012."
The announcement of the start of the bidding process for Daang Hari-SLEX, one of the smallest projects in the government's PPP list, came days before President Aquino's second State of the Nation Address. He had announced the program a year ago, at his first SONA.
The Daang Hari-SLEX project is a 4-kilometer toll road from Bacoor, Cavite to the South Luzon Expressway. At P1.6 billion, it’s the second smallest project in the government’s PPP list. Singson said it could be operational by end 2012.
|PPP Projects for 2010 Roll-out
|LRT 2 extension
|Puerto Princesa airport
|-- Source: PPP Center website
Panlilio said the government plans to organize a $150 million fund focused on its PPP projects, Panlilio said. It also plans to push for raising the foreign ownership limit to 60 percent, or remove the limit entirely, he said.