THE House of Representatives is set to approve on third and final reading a measure seeking to institutionalize and strengthen the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program of the government.
The measure, which is aimed at developing infrastructure projects, will be one of the important bills that Congress is prioritizing in this final week.
Congress will go on early session break to give way to the campaign for the upcoming presidential elections.
Last week, the committees on appropriations, public works and highways, and ways and means have endorsed for plenary approval House Bill 3951, which was principally authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Majority Leader Rep. Neptali M. Gonzales II.
Belmonte said the bill seeks to amend Republic Act 7718, otherwise known as “An Act Authorizing the Financing, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Infrastructure Projects By the Private Sector, and For Other Purposes,” to further strengthen the basic legal framework in undertaking PPP projects.
“The approval of the bill is a welcome development in light of our efforts in Congress to come up with a new law that will build from the experiences of the government in areas involving build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects. Our proposed reforms intend to sustain the gains of the Aquino administration’s PPP Program as it continues to move forward with its infrastructure projects,” Belmonte said.
The Speaker said the country holds the distinction of being one of the first developing countries to have created a legal and regulatory framework for BOT projects.
In 1990, he said the Philippine Congress enacted RA 6957, the first BOT law in Asia, which was further amended by RA 7718 to provide for an increased number of variants of BOT contractual arrangements.
“The BOT law has significantly increased private investment in infrastructure in the country by promoting private sector participation. Two decades after the passage of RA 7718, however, there is a need to further amend the law in order to keep the policy environment attuned to the present business landscape,” Belmonte said.
It provides that PPP projects may be undertaken through any of the following contractual arrangements: build-and-transfer; build-lease-and-transfer; build-own-and-operate; build-operate-and-transfer; build-transfer-and-operate; contract-add-and-operate; develop-operate-and-transfer; joint venture; operations and maintenance contract; rehabilitate-operate-and-transfer; and supply-and-operate. Other variations may be allowed upon prior approval by the Investment Coordinating Committee (ICC).
The PPP center shall ensure that Congress and the general public are provided with adequate, timely and relevant information pertaining to these priority projects. The release of proprietary information, which shall be defined in the IRR of the Act, is not contrary to existing laws.