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Clear rules and transparency seen to improve PPPs

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CLARITY of rules, transparency of the process, and clear role designations are seen to help in improving public-private partnerships (PPPs) and entice more private companies to collaborate in various infrastructure projects.

“We have already established the basic foundation of policies on having an effective PPP program and I think this administration can build on that and improve on it,” said Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Cosette V. Canilao said during the BusinessWorld Economic Forum on Tuesday.

When asked about what she wished would be improved in the program, she said: “clear rules, feasibility and transparency on the PPP process, and clarity on the institutional roles of government agencies that are involved in PPPs.”

Ms. Canilao led the country’s PPP program in a past administration.

According to Ms. Canilao, existing rules that cover contracts such as the Build-Operate-Transfer Law and the various PPP codes of the local government units are just tools to get the private sector’s involvement in various government-initiated projects.

Through PPP contracts, the private sector can provide capital, innovation, and talent that can help in addressing the infrastructure requirements of the country, she said.

Ms. Canilao said she wishes that the private sector and the government will hold the promise of following through on the commitment and obligations written under the contracts.

“PPPs are given a bad name when the private sector is not mindful of their commitment under the contract,” Ms. Canilao said.

“We need to be able to really assure that the services are met and that you’re able to address the issues of the communities during pre-construction, during construction, and during operations,” she added.

Ms. Canilao also said that there should be constant and frequent consultations between the government and the various private sector participants such as lenders, investors, insurance providers, and construction companies.

“The government acts as a regulator more than a facilitator in delivering the service. Challenges when they come, will not be solved if there is no open and frank discussions,” Ms. Canilao said.

“Infrastructure now has a broader meaning. It’s not only the traditional infrastructure like we know, like roads and bridges, but also social infrastructure such as health, education, even agriculture and the new emerging infrastructure such as IT, digital and even tech-based services,” she said.

According to Ms. Canilao, the enumerated types of infrastructure can be rolled out through PPPs wherein the private sector can be involved. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

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