By Samuel Medenilla, December 6, 2023; Business Mirror,19%20for%20the%20third%20time.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has signed two landmark laws to strengthen public-private partnership (PPP) for infrastructure and boost the protection of digital consumers.

The chief executive signed Republic Act 11966 also known as the “Act Providing for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) of the Philippines” as well as RA 11967 or the Internet Transactions Act of 2023 on Wednesday, while in isolation after testing for Covid-19 for the third time.

The cancelled signing ceremony for both pieces of legislation was supposed to be held in Malacañang on December 5, 2023.

RA 11966 aims to promote PPPs for infrastructures by establishing “a stable and predictable environment for collaboration between the public and private sectors.”

By integrating the government’s three-decade experience in implementing Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, the new Code is expected to mitigate risks for PPP projects.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan lauded the signing of the PPP Code, saying it will help the government meet its infrastructure requirements.

“With its implementation, the government can harness PPPs to finance priority programs such as the Marcos Administration’s Infrastructure Flagship Projects [IFPs] and even social infrastructure in the education and health sectors,” Balisacan said in a statement.

He noted the new Code not only clarifies the ambiguities in the existing BOT Law, but also reduces transaction costs and improves the ease of doing business for PPPs.

RA 11966 also promotes autonomy in implementing local PPP projects while ensuring alignment of local government unit (LGU) projects to national development plans, according to the NEDA chief.

To promote digital transactions, the government also passed into law RA 11967 creating the Electronic Commerce Bureau (ECB) under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The ECB is tasked with protecting digital consumers and merchants by ensuring fair business practices and establishing “effective mechanisms for dispute resolution.”

As part of its mandate, it will implement the provisions of the RA 11967 as well as the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, and the Philippine E-Commerce Roadmap.

Marcos said the two laws will help accelerate the country’s infrastructure development and efforts to have a thriving digital economy.