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NEDA chief says amendments to 2022 IRR of BOT law will improve govt resource management

Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Arsenio Balisacan (Photo credit: Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)

Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan lauded the approval of the amendments to the 2022 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), noting that it will “better direct resources in other critical areas of development.”

In a statement on Friday, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center said the amendments to the 2022 IRR of the BOT law were approved by the Cabinet-level BOT IRR Committee in a meeting held last Thursday. 

Balisacan, along with Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, hailed the measure as an “important milestone” in the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. 

The National  Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Finance (DOF) serve as Chair and Co-Chair, respectively, of the BOT Law IRR Committee. 

The Socio-economic Planning chief stressed that the amendments to the IRR will enable the government to leverage PPPs and “better direct resources in other critical areas of development, governance, including social protection measures.” 

Likewise, the Finance chief noted that the amended IRR will be “crucial” in the Philippines’s bid to unlock the “many benefits” of PPPs. “This strategy will be the cornerstone of our economic recovery,” Diokno said during the Committee hearing. 

The PPP Center serves as member of and secretariat to the BOT IRR Committee. It stressed that the amendments aim to promote transparency and accountability in delivering infrastructure projects. Moreover, it said the amendments push for “appropriate risk sharing” between the government and the private sector. 

“Its ratification shall ensure that all parties to PPP contracts are capable to implement their respective contractual obligations while, at the same time, uphold the interests and welfare of Filipinos,” PPP Center said in its statement. 

The approved amendments to the 2022 IRR stemmed from the inter-agency meetings and a public consultation, said the PPP Center. 

After concerns were raised by the private sector regarding the April 2022 iteration of the 2022 BOT Law IRR, the PPP center said,  inter-agency technical meetings among the BOT IRR Committee members were conducted to come up with proposed revisions to the rules.

On September 13,2022, all stakeholders and interested parties were gathered to provide inputs on the proposed amendments to the 2022 IRR of the BOT law. 

According to Balisacan, the conduct of such a public consultation intended to “address the stakeholders’ concerns on the financial viability and bankability of PPP projects, as well as to clarify ambiguous provisions that could cause delay in the processing of PPP projects.” 

With the Committee approval of the amendments to the 2022 IRR of the BOT law, the Committee targets to publish the amendments by September 26, for the measure to be effective by October 11,2022. 

Prior to the official publication,  as agreed during the public consultation, a copy of the 2022 IRR showing the changes made shall be posted in the NEDA, DOF, and PPP Center websites. It shall be made available by September 19,2022 for information of the general public. 

Earlier, Balisacan said they have received several private sector stakeholders’ comments expressing their concerns over specific provisions of the IRR. He said the careful review of the rules requires that “we perform a balancing act: encouraging private investment to promote job creation, technological innovation, and product competition while protecting the public interest”.

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