WITH the new law governing public-private partnership (PPP)-funded projects, the city’s big ticket development projects have stalled out due to the new procedures and committees in charge of the process.
According to City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Peña, in the old procedures in accordance with local ordinances, the PPP for the People Committee (P4) will be abolished, with potential to cause conflicts of interest.
The new law prescribes that a new committee under the city mayor will be in charge of evaluating the PPP projects once the PPP Center has finished initial evaluations, with the old P4 committee that included city council members being removed. The city council will then be able to approve evaluated projects as part of the procedure.
Dela Peña said that under the new law, the committee’s composition is up to the discretion of the mayor, who can then choose to include council members, which he says may potentially be a source of conflict.
“There is a conflict there. How can they review and at the same time approve? How can you review a project and also be the one endorsing it?” Dela Peña said.
Additionally, the new rules place additional power on the mayor for the review committee, who not only gets to select the members of the committee, but also has an irreplaceability in the new rules.
“Previously, if the mayor is not around, I can assume control of the P4 committee. But now I cannot do that. Officially, I am co-chair, but Mayor Benjie is in charge and I am just the action man,” Dela Peña said, who was also a member of the previous P4 committee.
Projects that have concluded the negotiation phase, such as the market redevelopment under SM Prime Holdings and the intermodal transport terminal project, will be able to proceed, as they have already completed the negotiation step and the law is not retroactive and will not revert projects back to previous steps, but other projects including the smart urban mobility project in the city will be hit by the changes.
“There are a lot more affected. It isn’t just the smart mobility, even the parking buildings we are planning, since some are PPP, will have to go through the council now,” Dela Peña said.