DTI chief cites benefit of PPP delays

Posted at 01/15/2014 6:22 PM | Updated as of 01/15/2014 6:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration has been heavily criticized for delays in the implementation of public private partnership projects.

But Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the delays in the roll out of infrastructure projects through PPP may have actually resulted in the government getting better deals.

"In the last two years, the infrastructure projects in terms of the PPP was slower than expected in terms of the roll-off, but I think we have caught up already. In the last six months of 2013, you've seen a number of big projects bidded out successfully. We're seeing a big number of projects to be bidded out this year," he said on ANC's Beyond Politics.

"While it was slow, you also see the benefit of delay. In two of the very big projects we bidded out, the government did not pay a single cent. In fact the government was paid by the private sector to do the projects," he added.

Domingo was referring to two PPP projects bidded out last year: the NAIA Expressway project, an elevated toll road that will connect Manila's three airports; and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

San Miguel's Optimal Infrastructure Development paid the Department of Public Works and Highways an upfront fee of P11 billion for the right to build NAIA Expressway and collect fees from motorists for 30 years.

"In the Cebu airport project, the winning bidder bidded over P14-billion to pay the government for the right to build the airport," Domingo added.

A consortium led by Megawide Construction and New Delhi airport operator GMR Infrastructure submitted a P14.4 billion bid, the highest bid for the Mactan-Cebu airport project. However, rival Filinvest-Changi group is seeking Megawide-GMR's disqualification over GMR's alleged unsatisfactory performance record and financial woes. GMR has denied those allegations.

Meanwhile, Domingo is confident the Philippine economy will continue to post one of the highest growth rates in Asia.

"The Philippines showed 6.8% GDP in 2012. And this year, we expect it to show around 7.2%-7.3%... Our estimates show it will be around that for the entire year. Having growth of over 7% is one of the best in Asia," he said.

The Philippine economy grew at 7.4% in the first 9 months of 2013, although there are concerns super typhoon "Haiyan" (Yolanda) will pull down economic growth in the fourth quarter.