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Bus carousel, ports first in line for PPP

Commuters endure long lines for free bus rides at the Main Avenue station of the EDSA bus carousel in Quezon City, July 18. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

THE Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works and Highways said the EDSA bus carousel and seaports will be among the first projects to be offered up for public-private partnerships (PPPs).

“We plan to invite as much private sector participation in our infrastructure projects (as possible), such as for the EDSA Carousel, the operation of our seaports, the privatization of 10 provincial airports, the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project and many more,” Transport Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said.

According to Mr. Bautista, the PPP scheme has been proven an effective route for injecting the private sector’s technical expertise and resources into government projects.

“By harnessing the expertise and capabilities of (private companies), we can confidently bring to completion these ambitious undertakings,” Mr. Bautista said in his address to a convention organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“PPP remains one of the major platforms of this administration (for leveraging) the assets of the private sector, not only in terms of the funds but also in technology and innovation,” Public Works Undersecretary Maria Catalina E. Cabral said.

Ms. Cabral pointed however for the need to pass a new Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, even after revisions were made to the current law’s implementing rules and regulations.

“I think we should move towards enacting a new BOT Law,” Ms. Cabral said. “We are now actively pursuing the enactment of the new law that will (have under its umbrella) all other modes of private participation.”

He said joint venture arrangements are not adequately covered by the BOT Law.

She added that the government will push for a new law in a manner that will not disrupt the project and investment pipeline. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

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