DFA, Ayala ink PPP deal for mall consular office
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has entered into a public-private partnership (PPP) with Ayala Land for the hosting of a consular office in a new mall at Clark Field, Pampanga.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Ayala Land president Antonino Aquino signed on Friday a memorandum of agreement between the DFA and Ayala Land’s subsidiary North Beacon Commercial Corp. It covered the transfer of the DFA Satellite Office at Clark Field to a new 800-square-meter facility in the upscale MarQuee Mall in Angeles City.
It was the third public-private partnership arrangement the DFA had entered into with mall owners in a bid to improve the delivery of passports and other consular services to the public.
The DFA earlier entered into PPP arrangements with Robinsons Land Corp. and Pacific Mall Corp. for the hosting of 10 consular offices in malls nationwide.
P300M in savings
DFA said it would save P250 million over 10 years as a result of the earlier arrangements and P50 million more with the new Ayala deal.
The details of the deal were not disclosed.
The PPP program is a contractual arrangement between the government and a private sector entity for infrastructure development or the delivery of public services. The private entity gets a reasonable rate of return on its investment.
“Our partnerships with Ayala Land, Robinsons Land and Pacific Mall would allow the national government to save more than P300 million in taxpayer money that would otherwise have been spent to cover the cost of the transfer, hosting and operational requirements of DFA consular offices in shopping centers,” Del Rosario said in a statement.
But more than just the facelift and the savings, “the transfer of DFA satellite offices to first-class facilities in shopping malls underscores the commitment of the DFA to better serve the public by making it more convenient for our people to avail themselves of passport and other consular services,” he said.
Up to 600 applicants
The new Clark Field consular office, which will be located on the third level of MarQuee Mall, will be much larger than the present location in Clark and could accommodate as many as 600 applicants from the area.
“Given its proximity to the metropolis, we can also expect our MarQuee facility to help decongest the main passport processing center at the Office of Consular Affairs along Macapagal Avenue in Parañaque City,” Del Rosario said.
By next year, Del Rosario said he hoped to be able to conclude ongoing negotiations and enter into similar arrangements with other private parties.
Central Visayas, too
Filipinos applying for passports will be serviced in more modern applicant-friendly consular offices that will be in place in major shopping centers across the country beginning the first quarter of next year, he said.
Passport applicants in Central Visayas will be the first to experience this new service when the P13.5-million Regional Consular Office in Mandaue City, Cebu, is officially inaugurated next month.
This will be followed by the formal opening of consular offices in Pampanga, General Santos, Lipa, Tacloban and Quezon City.
“We will also be expanding our services to other areas in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao in partnership with the private sector,” the foreign secretary added.
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