DOF cites value of spending gov’t funds on infra projects

MANILA – The public-private partnership (PPP) mode of building infrastructure is to the detriment of the public because of the delay in project implementation instead of using available government funds to immediately put up the projects.

This was stressed by Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III as some groups continue to question the Duterte administration’s preference to fund  proposed infrastructure projects using government funds, or through official development assistance (ODA) loans instead of through PPP.

He said the PPP mode is “slow” because of the bidding process, which in turn, takes the conceptualization of the project around 30 months on the average based on the experience of the previous administration.

He said one project, the 44.63-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), even took the previous government 50 months from the conception of the project to start.

“We have no time. We are very far behind in infrastructure and we have to move faster. We have proven we can start a project in 18 months so that is the benchmark the private sector has to meet,” he said.

The Finance chief said the government has decided to finance the construction of the projects and bid out the last phase or the maintenance to ensure the immediate construction of the necessary infrastructure.

“We have to start it. The country needs the infrastructure. So you want us to punish the public and wait around for some guys to do the PPP for 50 months” I think that is not fair to the public,” he pointed out.

The current administration plans to spend at least PHP8 trillion for the construction of about 75 infrastructure projects nationwide until 2020, citing that infrastructure is a sure way of ensuring the sustained growth of the domestic economy.

It has received strong support from the Chinese and Japanese governments for this purpose.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China in 2016, the Chinese government committed to extend USD9 billion-worth of soft loans to the Philippines as well as other economic deals amounting to around USD15 billion.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in turn, has pledged a 1 trillion yen (USD 9 billion) investment and development aid to the Philippines. (PNA)