BEHIND THE SCENES: PPP OPPORTUNITIES FOR INTROSPECTION
BEHIND the public-private partnership (PPP) scene, press releases and awarded contracts are latent assumptions. The underlying premises of PPPs must be understood, put in the foreground and subjected to discourse. A PPP is so much more than the instrument signed by an implementing agency (IA) and the winning private-sector proponent (PSP). A PPP goes beyond the construction, operations and delivery of projects.
A PPP is much more than a financial, technical and legal transaction. A PPP should be pursued as a covenant with the people for the public good to attain better quality of life. This is the “True North” of PPPs. PPP is more than the business.
The signatories to a contract are not the only stakeholders in a PPP. The people, end- users, civil- society organizations and regulatory agencies are all members of the PPP community. They must be active and not be fence sitters. A PPP must effect change. If undertaken for the public good, PPPs should result in transfor- mation and purposive deviation from the status quo. The vision of government must, thus, be clearly laid out.
Last year the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations morphed into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). No. 17 of the 17 SDGs is “Partnership for the  Goals.” The 16 SDGs are the outcomes and outputs ranging from “no poverty,” “quality education,” “zero hunger” and “reduced inequalities” to “clean water and sanitation,” “life below water” and “on land,” “good health and well- being.” No single stakeholder can achieve and be responsible for change.
PPP must not be viewed as if it is the only solution to the infrastructure and service deficits. There are other developmental strategies in
PPP must not be viewed as if it is the only solution to the infrastructure and service deficits. There are other developmental strategies in the government arsenal. Procurement, loans, official development assistance, guarantees, and use of national and local funds are the other strategies, which may be implemented singly or in conjunction with each other and PPPs.
the government arsenal.
Procurement, loans, official development assistance, guarantees, and use of national and local funds are the other strategies, which may be implemented singly or in conjunction with each other and PPPs.
PPPs by national government agencies, state corporations, local governments and state universities and colleges, individually and collectively, pro- mote the competitive advantage of the country and its individual units. The government cannot be solely responsible for development. Partnership with and for a purpose is critical.
To achieve the goals of Asean integration and for the country to be a front- runner, and not a laggard in the region, the whole Philippine bureaucracy must embrace PPP as a development strategy. If they do not, we will lag behind those countries with tremendous competitive advantages.
In typical PPP arrangements like build-operatetransfer, build- transfer- operate and build-lease-transfer schemes, the IA is a passive participant. The government simply oversees and regulates. The government steers and not rows.
However, in a joint venture, the IA is an active participant. It contributes, implements, operates and sets policy. These options are all legal.
What do you think of these eight? Let us take this opportunity for introspection.