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Amendments to BOT rules eyed against ‘unwarranted guarantees’

Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is the first airport PPP project in the country. (PPP Center Photo)

A committee headed by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua is now working to amend the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law to expedite public private partnership (PPP) projects, and protect the public from excessive payments and undue guarantees arising from such projects.

Chua said PPP projects with unwarranted guarantees, contingent liabilities and other onerous contract provisions take up the government’s already-limited fiscal space and hamper the country’s development.

“These use up resources that could have been used to build other infrastructure or provide social services for the people,” he said in a statement issued Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.

The BOT IRR committee aims to hold consultations with the public, investors, civil society and other partners in December 2021.

The target is to approve and publish the amended BOT IRR by the first quarter of 2022.

PPP projects, which are undertaken based on the BOT Law, are aimed at stimulating the economy and bringing back jobs.

Chua said it is the government’s job “to ensure that private sector interests are aligned to the public’s interests, with the overall goal of providing the best services to the people.”

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, who chairs the Investment Coordination Committee, emphasized the need to expedite evaluation of PPP projects “to arrive at their real cost to the government, consumers and taxpayers.”

The process must also be transparent. He further stressed the importance of promoting competition, avoiding conflicts of interest situations, and ensuring that parties of PPP contracts are capable of delivering on their commitments and running their facilities efficiently.

“As PPPs are paid for by the public, the IRR should enable the provision of quality infrastructure and services that are delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said PPP Center executive director Ferdinand A. Pecson.

The BOT IRR Committee held its first meeting on Oct. 26, 2021. (Ventures Cebu)

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