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Bidding set for 10,000 school buildings under PPP

Smaller projects first before big-ticket ventures

The government plans to start bidding out in the next few weeks contracts for the construction of about 10,000 school buildings under its public-private partnership (PPP) framework, according to Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima.

This means the so-called minor PPP projects would be pushed ahead of the big-ticket ventures, the first one of which Purisima earlier said might be implemented “within the year.”

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“By the end of the month (August), if not early September, we’re launching a PPP school house building,” the finance chief said. “(We will bid out contracts for) about 10,000 school buildings rather than government itself building them.”

“We’ll bid (these) out to the private sector that can build it cheaply and maintain it better and then we pay them over a period of time,” he added.

Purisima made the announcement in a talk during the Credit Suisse Asean Indian Conference held in Singapore on August 18.

Purisima earlier said the government was also lining up “minor” infrastructure projects aside from the big ones that include toll ways, airports and railways.

Purisima said the smaller projects would be done through line agencies—such as the agriculture, health and education departments—instead of the national government itself.

According to the PPP Center of the Philippines, the minor projects may include hospitals, classrooms and school buildings, multipurpose irrigation systems and tourism amenities.

Earlier this month, Purisima said 18 companies were bidding for the Daang Hari-Southern Luzon Expressway road project, the first among the big-ticket projects under the PPP program.

He said the Daang Hari-SLEx project would possibly start implementation within this year.

In a related development, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said the Aquino administration earmarked in the 2012 budget P8 billion for PPP. The amount is expected to close the resource gaps in key education and healthcare services.

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“We have been limiting ourselves to funding school buildings and regional hospitals through the annual budget,” Abad said.

“Why don’t we tap the capital and expertise of the private sector to escalate social services?”

Under the proposed P17.4-billion budget for the Basic Educational Facilities Fund of the Department of Education in 2012, P5 billion is proposed to be earmarked for the implementation of the PPP scheme to fast-track the construction of schools.

Abad said that under this scheme, as many as 60,000 classrooms could be constructed within that year.

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TAGS: Government, Infrastructure, public-private partnership, school buildings
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