"The senator says Public-Private Partnership is a pro-poor policy."
Senator Grace Poe in her speech in the virtual round table event held Friday, hosted by Stratbase ADR Institute and CitizenWatch Philippines, supported the encouragement of Public Private Partnership, Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and the passage of the Public Services Act as strategic policies for economic recovery amid the COVID 19 crisis.
Addressing over 300 stakeholders representing government, industry leaders, and the academe, Sen Poe believes that Public Partner Partnership brings forth an opportunity to revive a previously discarded concept that potentially reduces the trade-off between saving the economy and preserving our fiscal health.
“So therein lies the opportunity to remind policymakers of the financial advantages of PPP over government-funded projects – the shifting of project costs from the taxpayer to the user of the project’s services,” Poe said.
She sees PPP as a pro-poor policy wherein by contracting out the undertaking of large projects that are commercially viable, the government can free up funds to spend on health care and poverty alleviation projects.
“For example, in the transport sector not only must we do our best to save the jobs of our transport services providers, but there are also opportunities to build useful and relevant infrastructure projects which will decongest EDSA and provide opportunities for PPPs right here at the heart of the economic crisis,” Poe said.
Sen Poe cited that banks are constrained in lending by many regulations and to recover from this crisis may require opening our country to more FDIs.
“These investments will provide the capital infusion needed by several industries including manufacturing, transportation, logistics, and telecoms,” she said.
She stressed the importance for the Public Service Act (PSA) to liberalize the economy and encourage the entry of more players and capital investments; this in turn, will enhance competition, leading to better consumer service.
Sen Poe allayed concerns that foreign ownership of vital industries could pose threats to national security as the PSA has enough safeguards.
She added that, “for the batch of students who just graduated online, for your sons and daughters who are now first-time job seekers, a liberalized economy may keep them from leaving home. The PSA might just provide the market diversification needed so that our best and our brightest need not leave our beloved country.”
Rep. Edgard Mary Sarmiento, Chairperson, House Committee on Transportation, likewise supported the Senators call, “I believe in the power of the private sector to boost our economy. After all, we have seen how the private sector assisted our government officials in building temporary facilities needed in fighting COVID-19. Moreover, I also believe that the private sector will continue to help as the country recovers from the effects of COVID-19.
Rep. Sarmiento lauded the latest PPP projects are the Cavite Barge Terminal of ICTSI, LRT line 1 extension of Ayala and Metro Pacific, and CALAX of MPIC Tollways.
“In these projects, private companies worked hand in hand with the Transportation and Public Works department to give better infrastructure to the people,” Sarmiento said.
Prof. Dindo Manhit, President of Stratbase ADR Institute said, “By harnessing the private sector’s support to invest in public infrastructure across the country, our government can appropriately revise and sustain the BBB program with due consideration to public health, education and social services.
To foster strong collaboration between the private sector and government, there must first be a competitive and stable regulatory environment that respects the sanctity of contracts and rule of law. Good governance is vital in attracting investments that would strengthen economic resilience, improve transportation and connectivity, and create jobs that provide income security. Only through the private sector’s uninterrupted and robust participation can we survive through the pandemic and on to the new normal way of life and work.”