Bill seeks to void Marcos-era law hampering Aquino PPP projects | Inquirer News
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Bill seeks to void Marcos-era law hampering Aquino PPP projects

/ 02:34 AM March 04, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—House leaders led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte have filed a bill that would tweak the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law to fast-track the implementation of public-private partnership projects in the final half of the Aquino administration.

Part of the 17 amendments proposed in the bill is the revocation of a Marcos-era edict granting the Philippine National Construction Co. (PNCC) exclusive control of the country’s toll highways, specifically the North and South Luzon Expressways and the 44.57-kilometer Metro Manila Expressway (from Bicutan, Parañaque, to Meycauayan, Bulacan).

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Belmonte said House Bill No. 3951, to be known as the PPP Act, would “seek to build from the experiences of the government in areas involving BOT projects. The proposed amendment aims to further strengthen the basic legal framework in undertaking PPP projects. It also intends to sustain the achievements of the Aquino administration’s PPP program as it continues to move forward with infrastructure projects.”

The changes to the BOT Law are expected to deal with the legal problems hobbling the government’s PPP projects, which barely moved from the drawing boards in the first half of President Aquino’s six-year term.

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Repeal PD 1894

The bill would repeal Presidential Decree 1894, or Amending the Franchise of the PNCC to Construct, Maintain and Operate Toll Facilities in the North and South Luzon Expressways to include the Metro Manila Expressway to Serve as an Additional Artery in the Transportation of Trade and Commerce in the Metro Manila Area, which was issued by strongman Ferdinand Marcos in December 1983.

The repeal of PD 1894 is expected to facilitate the government’s direct control of all road projects linked to the expressways without having to go through the PNCC where businessmen William Gatchalian and Marcos crony Rodolfo Cuenca (founder of PNCC’s predecessor Construction Development Corp. of the Philippines) were believed to have a significant interest.

Aside from the revocation of PNCC’s franchise, the bill also would expand the coverage of the PPP to include joint venture and operation maintenance contracts; remove the 50-percent cap on the government’s stake in PPP projects; increase the threshold amount that state agencies could approve per PPP project; give agencies more options to deal with unsolicited proposals; provide the automatic grant of licenses and permits to winning bidders; give PPP proponents more flexibility to expand or extend their projects without further bidding; mandate the full disclosure of PPP contracts;

Bar all courts from issuing temporary restraining orders against PPP projects except the Supreme Court (which can only issue a TRO of up to six months); remove any government agency that violates PPP rules; bar regulatory bodies from going into PPP projects that they regulate; exempt PPP projects from local and property taxes; adopt a valuation system for right-of-way acquisitions; limit to 30 days the validity of a court’s writ of possession; create a contingency liability fund to cover for government disbursements; and create a PPP governing board and center and a Project Development and Monitoring Facility.

The bill was signed by Belmonte and Representatives Neptali Gonzales II, Romero Quimbo and Ronald Cosalan.

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TAGS: build-operate-transfer (BOT) law, House Bill No. 3951, Marcos-era law, PPP Act, proposed bill, public-private partnership (PPP), tollroads
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