KEY infrastructure projects funded via public-private partnership (PPP) increased to 233 at a total estimated cost of over P8 trillion, with 14 new projects added this year, according to the PPP Center of the Philippines.

The PPP Center said 176 PPP projects worth P1.289 trillion are currently being implemented, while the pipeline consists of 57 projects worth P7.159 trillion.

Five solicited additional projects are in the pipeline: the rehabilitation of the Mariveles Mental Wellness Center, the redevelopment of the Philippine Travel Center Complex, the construction of the Metro Cebu Expressway, the decongestion of the Bicol Medical Center Medical Arts Building and upgrades to its health services, and the redevelopment of a Makati property for the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Unsolicited projects include proposals to operate and maintain the Francisco B. Reyes Airport and the New Busuanga Airport, the New Metro Manila Food and Transport Hub project, the Tuguegarao City Septage Management project, and the expansion and maintenance of the Iloilo Commercial Port Complex and Dumangas Port. There are also two new unsolicited proposals made under the Build-Operate-Transfer Law: the Davao Sasa Port Modernization and the development, operation, and maintenance of General Santos Port.

The PPP Center said the water districts of San Pablo City and its private partner are also set to build the P103-million Lumbo Spring Bulk Water Supply Project.

The projects are currently in various stages of development, evaluation and approval.

“The Philippine PPP program remains bullish and supportive of the country’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program, contributing new PPP projects and offering viable solutions to the recovery efforts of the nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said in a statement Tuesday.

“We will continue to seek out more efficient ways to deliver our mandate and provide technical assistance to implementing agencies as they pursue PPPs both in traditional sectors — transportation and water supply — and emerging sectors — health, IT, solid waste management and climate resiliency sectors,” it added.

For projects in the pipeline this year, 39 will be implemented by the national government, with 27 of them unsolicited.

Socioeconomic Planning Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua has said the government is open to more PPPs as an alternative funding option for infrastructure projects because government revenue is under strain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The government started including more PPP projects to its infrastructure flagship program last year.

In the list of 104 flagship projects, 30 worth a combined P1.663 trillion will be funded through PPP, either fully or partially. The list of 104 is estimated to cost P4.13 trillion overall.

The PPP Center said it is also monitoring 89 ongoing projects by national agencies  and 90 being implemented locally.

Meanwhile, there are 18 local PPP projects in the pipeline, 12 solicited and six unsolicited, with majority areas about water supply, solid waste management, IT parks, transport and tourism.

“The PPP Center will continue to provide its technical assistance to [implementing agencies] and build a viable pipeline of PPP projects for 2021. This effort is in collaboration with the private sector as a committed partner working towards the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuilding the lives of the Filipino people,” it said.

It said technical assistance to agencies through the Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF) is helping them prepare pre-feasibility studies, feasibility studies and other pre-investment activities needed to develop PPP projects.

It also extends help in the PPP bidding process and monitors project implementation.

Seven potential PPP projects have been approved for PDMF support since January: the Ormoc City Water Supply System, the Iloilo City Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility, the Bislig City Bulk Water Supply and Septage project, the rehabilitation of Kennon Road, the Mariveles Wellness Center, the NEDA Makati property redevelopment, and the Bicol Medical Center-Medical Arts Building project and upgrades to health services.

Additional support will also be given for the independent consultancy services on the operation and maintenance of the Clark International Airport Expansion Project. — Beatrice M. Laforga