By Louella Desiderio, December 11, 2023; The Philippine Star,TPB%2C%20Trabaho%20Para%20Sa%20Bayan.

Manila, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it would prioritize the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the newly approved Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code.

NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon told reporters the issuance of the IRR for the PPP Code would be prioritized by the agency.

“We’re working with the DOF (Department of Finance), as well and, of course, PPP Center [for the IRR],” she said.

Republic Act 11966 or the PPP Code was signed into law by President Marcos last Dec. 5.

The law, which was among the government’s priority legislative measures for approval this year, clarifies ambiguities in the existing Build-Operate-Transfer Law, which was last amended in 1994, as well as other existing PPP legal frameworks.

RA 11966 is expected to address bottlenecks and challenges that affect the implementation of PPPs.

Under the law, the PPP Governing Board chaired by the NEDA secretary is tasked to issue the IRR within 90 calendar days from the effectivity of the PPP Code.

A public consultation with stakeholders, including the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation, other key implementing agencies, local government units, and a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created under the code will have to be conducted prior to the issuance of the IRR.

The PPP Code will take effect 15 days after its publication in the official gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

While the issuance of the IRR for the PPP Code will be prioritized, Edillon said the NEDA is still working on other IRRs.

“We’re also writing the IRR for the TPB, Trabaho Para Sa Bayan. And our target for that is I think, if I’m not mistaken, early February,” she said.

Signed into law last Sept. 27, the TPB Act seeks to enable greater access to employment opportunities, with a masterplan for employment generation and recovery to be crafted by the TPB Inter-Agency Council, which will be chaired by the NEDA secretary and co-chaired by the heads of the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Labor and Employment.

NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the PPP Code is expected to promote development across various sectors and accelerate the delivery of public services necessary for economic growth and socioeconomic transformation.

“With its implementation, the government can harness PPPs to finance priority programs such as the Marcos administration’s infrastructure flagship projects and even social infrastructure in the education and health sectors. The law encourages leveraging private-sector expertise in process innovation, resource mobilization and high-quality service delivery,” he said.

He said massive amounts of investments in both physical and human capital will be needed to sustain the country’s economic growth, generate high-quality jobs and reduce poverty.

“Given the tight fiscal space, the private sector becomes an indispensable partner in building the foundations to propel the economy’s medium- and long-term expansion. Through the many game-changing reforms enacted and implemented by the present and past administrations, we aim to make the Philippines a destination of choice for local and foreign investors,” he said.

World Bank senior economist Ralph Van Doorn said the implementation of the PPP Code, along with other reforms to make the country a more attractive investment destination, would support future growth.