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Gov’t readies vaccine PPP

Posted on April 11, 2012

A MULTIMILLION-PESO domestic vaccine production project could be one of the next public-private partnership (PPP) deals to be rolled out by the government, officials yesterday said.

The P900-million Vaccine Self-Sufficiency Project (VSSP) Phase II, under the Department of Health, is up for approval today by an interagency committee after having been endorsed by a technical panel last week.

“The vaccine project is part of the agenda of the ICC Cabinet Committee meeting,” said Jonathan Uy, public investment staff director at the National Economic and Development Authority.

This followed approval by a technical panel of the Investment Coordination Committee, which evaluates major national projects and endorses it for final approval by the NEDA Board headed by the president.

PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao said the VSSP involved the establishment of facilities for the formulation, packaging and labeling of the pentavalent -- used for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B and haemophylus influenza B; tetanus toxoid; and single dose hepatitis B vaccines.

“Private sector participation will include construction of the facilities, purchase of equipment and operation and maintenance for the next 10 years,” Ms. Canilao told BusinessWorld.

“The invitation to prequalify to bid may be published in the second quarter, as soon as it is approved [by the NEDA Board],” she added.

In its Web site, the PPP Center said the project, which will be implemented through the Health department’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, is expected to reduce annual vaccine procurement costs by 20-30%.

“[The] government can save approximately P240 million to P360 million out of the P1.2-billion annual purchase cost of the vaccines,” the PPP Center said.

Ms. Canilao has said that the government was eyeing to roll out at least eight PPP projects this year. These include the School Infrastructure Project, targeted for bidding in June, and the Light Rail Transit Line 1 South Extension Project, which was approved by the NEDA Board last month.

In a related development, Public Works officials yesterday said three PPP projects were expected to soon receive funding that would help conclude their respective business case studies.

“Most projects are still at the stage of putting together business case studies, but there are those scheduled for the procurement of consultancy services to complete the business cases,” Public Works Undersecretary Raul C. Asis said on the sidelines of a National Competitiveness Council meeting.

The three projects set to receive funding for consultancy services, he said, are the Calamba-Los Baños Expressway, Quirino Highway in Bicol and the C6 Expressway.

“We have around P20-30 million to fund for two to four projects for their business case studies,” said Ricardo N. Bamero, Jr., head of the project management office for feasibility studies at the Public Works department.

The case studies are intended to determine the projects’ viability to draw investment interest, Mr. Asis said. These will come on top of feasibility studies where the government determines the “economic impact and technical aspects” of the projects, he added.

Mr. Bamero noted that the feasibility study for the C6 expressway project was already completed.

The only PPP deal so far awarded is the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway project, which was bagged last December by Ayala Corp. -- with a report from Kim Arveen M. Patria