By Czeriza Valencia, March 1, 2020; The Philippine Star

Manila, Philippines — More local government units (LGUs) have expressed interest in pursuing projects through public-private partnership (PPP) by reaching out to the government for technical assistance.

Three LGUs recently signed with the PPP Center a memorandum of agreement for collaboration in terms of project assistance, capacity building, and drafting or review of PPP/joint venture ordinance, policies and guidelines.

These agreements also outline the duties and responsibilities of both parties during the course of PPP project development and implementation.

The government is offering to the private sector the rehabilitation of the Kennon Road leading up to Baguio City to help boost tourism activities in the city.

Early this month, PPP Center supported the conduct of a market sounding exercise for the improvement, operation, and maintenance of the 115-year-old toll road that is now prone to landslides.

This was meant to ascertain the level of interest, capability, and experience of the private sector top undertake the project as well as to obtain suggestions from the private sector in the best methodology to be used for the project as well as possible alternative alignments before it is offered as a solicited PPP project.

PPP projects at the local government level are expected to take off next year as the implementation of the Local PPP strategy continues to gain momentum.

More local implementing bodies are now undertaking PPP projects as a result of capacity building and technical assistance provided under the strategy.

These include local government units, water districts, state universities and colleges, special economic zones, and Tourism Enterprise Zones to help generate more bankable PPPs at the local level.

At the close of 2019, the PPP Center was monitoring 143 awarded projects, of which 31 are being undertaken by national government agencies, 73 are from government owned and controlled corporations and 39 are PPP projects of local government units (LGUs).

Of the 143 awarded projects, 76 are solicited projects and 67 are unsolicited projects. The pipeline has an estimated total project cost of P2.1 trillion.

There are 32 unsolicited projects and 24 solicited projects on various stages of development, evaluation, and procurement.

The center has been expanding its reach to the regions through the PPP knowledge corners lodged within the regional offices of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Offices where information on PPP are extended to interested parties.

Partners such as the Asian Development Bank(ADB), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), and the Singapore’s Infrastructure Asia have also been providing technical and knowledge support.