Saturday, May 18, 2024

Senators step up BOT law revision, ensure smooth implementation of PPP projects

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Senators are stepping up efforts to fast-track passage of amendatory bills to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) law, which is deemed crucial to ensuring better public-private partnership (PPP) projects in infrastructure, a pillar of the country’s development plan.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito on Tuesday recalled that effort in recent years to change vague provisions of the BOT law “would not suffice due to the fact that the last amendment to the BOT law was enacted almost three decades ago.”

Ejercito conveyed his observations as the Senate’s public works committee heard several measures on the matter.

“We believe in the spirit of PPP,” he assured, but quickly added that this law “has also led to delays, conflict of interests, and even corruption,” even as “there had been several moves to improve the vague provisions in the BOT law through revisions of its Implementing Rules and Regulations.”

Moreover, the senator stressed, “We need to address the outdated provisions in the law and provide for a more enabling environment for the successful implementation of the PPP program. Through the guidance and valuable inputs of our resource persons, we hope to pass a version that would address the issues of the PPP program,” Ejercito added.

For his part, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. proceeded to preside over the Senate hearing of the public works committee on various bills that seek to amend the BOT law or PPP program.

In the course of the hearing, Revilla noted that amending the BOT law is “one of the priority legislative measures of the Executive” as mentioned by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in his first State of the Nation Address.

“With the pronouncements from the President,” Revilla assured, “We will look into the ambiguities, identified challenges and delimited environment for PPPs.”

At the end, he reminded, “the goal is to be on point with these issues and harvest the benefits from the PPP scheme.”

Revilla added: “And as a partner of our government in providing more direct and effective services to the people, we will make sure that the said law fits the changes we want to implement.”

At the same time, the senator assured that he agrees with the President’s amendments that specifically seek to: address the ambiguities in the existing law; address the bottlenecks and challenges affecting the implementation of the PPP program; and foster a more competitive and enabling environment for PPPs. -30-     

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