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DoTr’s Bautista pitches transport investments to Swiss companies

COMMUTERS form a long line that snakes along a pedestrian overpass in EDSA for free bus rides on July 18. — PHILSTAR/MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

TRANSPORTATION Secretary Jaime J. Bautista invited Swiss to invest in Philippine transport infrastructure projects via public-private partnerships (PPP), his department said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“Speaking at the Swiss Innovation Exhibit that marked 65 years of Philippine-Swiss relations at Hyatt Hotel on Oct. 25, Sec. Bautista wants to fast-track the completion of big-ticket transport projects with private-sector participation,” the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said.

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

He said that the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Build-Operate-Transfer Law ensure that PPP projects will not be disadvantageous to Filipinos “by providing a balanced sharing of risks between government and the private sector project proponents while allowing reasonable rates of return on investments, incentives, support and undertakings.”

The IRR, published on Sept. 27, sought to address concerns over the financial viability and bankability of PPP projects while clarifying ambiguous provisions that might have caused delays in the PPP process.

In particular, the definition of the Material Adverse Government Action clause was revised to cover all government actions, not just the Executive branch.

The IRR was amended in response to concerns that the previous version of the rules compels private proponents to shoulder more risk while relieving the government of responsibility for delayed deliverables.

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno has said the new rules will be critical to unlocking the benefits of PPP, as well as “reap higher multiplier effects for the economy.” — Arjay L. Balinbin

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