By Alfredo V. Asuncion | December 23, 2015 |

Like other developing nations, we are confronted by economic, social and political issues that need attention—and resources—so that, through well-coordinated program of governance, the long yearned-for exponential advances may become attainable.

The vital issue of infrastructure has, by itself, drawn public attention and concern—(Metro Manila’s transport woes have dominated news headlines!)—nudging authorities astir over its impact on the economy, and even on political stability. The public-private partnership (PPP) concept is great, but as is most often the case, the devil is in the details.

Consider the following:

1. Delays and difficulties in the implementation of some of P-Noy’s own PPP projects such as the National Orthopedic Hospital, Cebu-Mactan Airport, MIA-Entertainment City Expressway, Laguna Lake Dike cum land reclamation cum toll expressway, LRT-1 Extension (to Cavite), MRT-3, LRT-1, LRT-7 Common Station, and the integration of the Bataan-Tarlac Expressway into the Manila North Expressway System.

2. Failed projects and/or those in distress, principally those began by P-Noy’s predecessors—like the North Rail Project of the Arroyo presidency (a total failure); the traffic nightmare at Edsa, an offshoot of the “as-built” MRT-3’s technical shortcomings and the financial consequences of a disadvantageous contract; Naia Terminal 3—with its history of procurement, execution, and manner/record of resolving attendant irregularities—reflecting poorly the integrity and competence of Philippine governance; the disposition of land—reclaimed by the Public Estate Authority during the Marcos presidency under the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road Project—by post-Marcos administrations under blatantly anomalous conditions; the arbitration sought by Manila Water and Maynilad, in connection with controversies relating to the adjudication of water service rates.

The list of “negatives” to the vaunted PPP program as presently implemented is too long and too grave to take lightly—and so obvious to even “sidewalk superintendents” as this reader is. It is a gross disenchantment that P-Noy’s technocrats have shown seemingly little concern for the program—even so, it’s so late in the day.

We suggest that proven professionals be engaged with utmost urgency to this matter. The cost, even after being proven in hindsight to be uncalled-for, would be a small fraction of the benefit of a well-executed effort.