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Alba Iulia
Friday, December 4, 2020

Philippines, Australia hold public-private partnership policy dialogue

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Alice Nicolas
Alice Nicolas
Alice Gregorio Nicolas is the publisher of The Philippine Times.

The Philippine government, through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, initiated a Philippine-Australia PPP Policy Dialogue with Partnerships Victoria held last 21-22 May 2015 at Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne.

The policy dialogue engaged Australian PPP experts in discussions that aimed to enrich knowledge, insights, and experiences on PPPs. It served as a venue for Australia to share its experience on PPPs, particularly that of the State Government of Victoria, and how they were able to sustain their PPP Program over the years.

Other Philippine government officials also present during the said policy dialogue include Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Philippine Ambassador to Australia Belen Anota, and PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao. The Offices of Senator Ralph Recto and Senator Juan Edgardo Angara also sent representatives in the dialogue.

Minister Adem Somyurek of the State Government of Victoria’s Department for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, together with other officials and representatives from Partnerships Victoria and Australian Trade Commission, were also in attendance.

Australia’s rich experiences on its PPP institutional framework, procurement policies, evaluation methodologies, and implementation and monitoring of projects were also tackled during the discussions.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan highlighted in the policy dialogue that the country’s PPP program has already achieved significant changes since its launching in 2010.

“I am proud to say that the Philippines’ PPP program has come a long way in terms of developing bankable PPP projects and ensuring that they are successfully tendered,” he said.

The overall strategy of the Philippine Government now is to step up public infrastructure spending from 2.7 percent of the GDP in 2013 to at least 5.0 percent by 2016.
Secretary Balisacan added that through the PPP program, government will continue to tap the private sector as partners in development to help overcome the country’s resource constraints, deliver much-needed social services and public infrastructure facilities, and to help sustain the robust economic growth the country has been enjoying in recent times.

“The PPP Policy Dialogue is aligned with the Aquino Administration’s major advocacy of pushing for the enactment of the PPP Act or Amendments to the Revised Build-Operate-and-Transfer (BOT) Law envisioned to sustain the gains of the PPP Program,” said Executive Director Canilao.
In addition, the government is also seeking to amend the law on Right of Way Acquisition (ROWA) that would address bottlenecks in implementing PPP projects. It is also continuously working to streamline PPP processes and institutionalize reforms and best practices to further enhance the legal and policy environment for private sector participation.

Meanwhile, Public Works and Highways Secretary Singson highly appreciated the policy dialogue and the site visits that were conducted.
“This has been really an eye-opener because we’ve learned a lot about how PPP is done and the outputs are tremendous,” Secretary Singson said.
He also welcomed inputs from Australia for PPP stakeholders in the Philippines to learn more about how PPP projects can be properly implemented in the country through learning from its PPP experiences.

“I’d like to open the possibility of the Philippine Government inviting inputs from Australia, particularly Melbourne to help the various line agencies who are apparently, many of them should have been here, as well as the private sector in the Philippines, so that they get to really appreciate and learn more about how PPP projects can be put together in a much better state,” he added.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. also emphasized the value of the two-day event that will highly benefit the Philippines.
“It has been a very fruitful two days. The advanced state or high level of PPP project implementation in Victoria and Australia has taught us a great deal about the concept (of PPPs) and gives us direction to explore PPP in the Philippines,” said Senator Marcos.

This policy dialogue was co-organised by PPP Center, AusTrade and Partnerships Victoria with support from the Asian Development Bank and Philippine Embassy in Australia.

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