The amendments to the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law has been approved by a Cabinet-level committee.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who co-chairs the panel with the Department of Finance, said the IRR would strengthen the government's capabilities in addressing pressing issues such as poverty, inflation and prolonged economic scarring due to COVID-19.
“The amendments to the IRR would serve to further leverage PPPs (public private partnership) in spurring innovation and aiding in the prudent allocation of the government’s resources. This is especially relevant today, given our tight fiscal position," Balisacan said.
"With more resources freed up, the government can increase its spending on priorities such as health, education, and social protection," he added.
The NEDA chief underscored the importance of PPPs in the BOT law, citing that the private sector could serve as "a steadfast partner in areas such as infrastructure development, where there is strong market demand."
"Through this cooperation, we move forward with confidence towards achieving our post-pandemic socioeconomic goals,” he said.
The approval of the proposed IRR came after a meeting of the committee on September 15, 2022.
Committee members include the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Information and Communications Technology, the Interior and Local Government, Public Works and Highways, Trade and Industry, and Transportation, as well as the PPP Center which serves as member of and secretariat to the committee.
“We have to ensure that the amendments will address stakeholder concerns on financial viability and bankability of PPP projects. Likewise, we need to make sure that ambiguous provisions are revised, as these are risky for the government, given that they can cause delays in the processing and implementation of PPP projects. Lastly, these amendments should be socially beneficial to all parties,” Balisacan said.
The committee also took into consideration the inputs solicited from stakeholders during the face-to-face public consultation held on September 13. The BOT IRR committee acknowledged receipt of 91 comments during the public consultation proper and 213 written comments in total.
The revised BOT Law IRR will undergo final revisions before being uploaded to the websites of the committee members by September 19, 2022. The committee targets the publication of the revised IRR by September 26, and for the measure to take effect on October 11, 2022.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier directed the NEDA to review the IRR to make it more responsive to the times. —LDF, GMA News