Duterte fast-tracks infrastructure overhaul, Pernia says

Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2016 01:19 PM | Updated as of Sep 07 2016 04:43 PM

MANILA - (UPDATE) The government plans to halve the time it takes before private-sector funded projects start construction, as President Rodrigo Duterte embarks on a major infrastructure overhaul, his senior economic adviser said Wednesday.

Construction on public private partnership (PPP) projects will start 15 to 20 months from bidding and award. A PPP bill has been filed in Congress to clear bottlenecks in the process, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.

“Expect PPPs to be fast,” he said. “Bidding was a problem, but that's something we can speed up”

While the previous government was concerned over “raising revenue,” Pernia said the Duterte government’s goal was to “deliver rapid development.”

Pernia said he preferred a “hybrid” scheme for some projects, wherein funding will be sourced from official development aid, while operations and maintenance is left to the private sector.

Korea, China and Japan have offered to fund the first ever rail system in Mindanao, he said.

The new head of the PPP Center, Ferdinand Pecson said the government was looking at removing premium payments for companies to secure a project.

"Government is in a different time now from when premiums were the thing. That time, we were hard up on cash,
and now we have good credit rating, cost of borrowing money is down, we have the funds," Pecson said.

The criteria for choosing the winning bidder will vary per project, but Pecson said the government would most likely choose bids that benefit the public the most at the least cost.

READ: 10 infrastructure projects up for Duterte approval: NEDA

Two months into Duterte’s six-year term, the government has received two unsolicited proposals for airports and another two for integrated transport terminals, transportation undersecretary Rommel Gavieta said.

The proposals came from local and foreign investors as well as new players he said, adding the government would decide on the offers within the month.