PPP Conversations #6 with Rep. Arlene Arcillas
TO date, some 80 provinces, cities and municipalities have adopted their own framework on public-private partnerships (PPPs) through the passage of local ordinances. This columnist hopes that, in the near future, the City of Santa Rosa will adopt its own to further accelerate development started by First District Rep. Arlene B. Arcillas when she was the city chief executive.
In a briefing last week on PPP, organized by Rep. Arlene B. Arcillas and attended by incumbent Mayor Dan Fernandez and Vice Mayor Arnold Arcillas, the city leaders disclosed their plans for integrated land development, market redevelopment, solid-waste management, mass transit, reclamation, sports development and knowledge creation. Representative Arlene shares with us her vision of the city, propelled by PPP.
• What is your concept of PPP?
Broadly, PPP is a partnership between a public entity and a private entity. Going deeper on the essence and objective of PPPs, it can address the limited financial resources for local infrastructure projects of the public sector, thereby, allowing the allocation of public funds for other government initiatives. PPP is also a program structured for both sectors to gain improved efficiency and project implementation process in delivering quality services to the public.
• What makes PPP a viable development strategy for the city of Santa Rosa?
Widely recognized for its financial stability and efficient local governance, the city of Santa Rosa continues to thrive as one of the most advanced and sustainable cities within the region and the country, as well. As the city attempts to further improve its delivery of quality social services, the demand for more infrastructure and development projects increases. This is a situation wherein the need to engage the private sector arises. Through PPPs, the city of Santa Rosa would be able to implement projects minimizing financial costs, while realizing development goals and allocate more for other social-welfare projects and programs, highlighting the value for money. For me, that means lesser exposure for the city but more gains.
• What could be your legislative agenda for PPP?
As per report of the Asian Development Bank in 2016, the Philippines still lacks an official guideline for local government units (LGUs) forming joint ventures (JVs) with the private sector. This gap, I think, is causing serious uncertainty for some LGUs that are interested in coming up with PPP projects that are not covered by build-operate-and-transfer law.
• What do you think are the challenges and risks of PPP projects?
First and foremost, I think the risk of a project being “discontinued” when a new administration comes in should be addressed. Mechanisms to protect contracts and projects should be in place.
• What is your message to the public?
Considering everything else, the pros and cons, I still believe that PPP would be a very effective mechanism to implement more programs and projects for the city of Santa Rosa and for other government agencies, as well. The city of Santa Rosa would be able to go beyond what it has already been achieved and provided in the last decade through my administration. I believe a great leap toward more developments will be achieved through PPP.