Philippines’ Department of Justice (DoJ) last week issued its official invitation to prequalify and bid for the country’s first penitentiary private-public partnership (PPP) project.
The move comes eight months after DoJ undersecretary Francisco Baraan III announced that the National Penitentiary would be moved to Barangay San Isidro in Laur, Nueva Ecija, in order to decongest the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Philippines’ main insular penitentiary with over 20,000 inmates.
An investor conference is set for March 20 in Manila to present the PHP50.11 billion (€1billion; $1.12billion) regional prison facility project to interested private groups.
“It is the first major PPP project of DOJ and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the first of its kind in the country,” said Justice Secretary Leila De Lima in a statement.
The project will involve the construction and maintenance of a modern prison facility in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. It is to be developed under a Build-Transfer-and-Maintain (BTM) arrangement with a concession period of 23 years (inclusive of a 3-year construction period).
Sources close to the matter told Infrastructure Investor the government is eyeing property redevelopment of the current prison sites as they are located in a prime location in Metro Manila, “meaning they are highly attractive for potential investments”.
According to Philippines’ PPP Centre, the project aims to create a prison that will provide adequate living spaces and address the basic needs of inmates incarcerated in the existing penal facilities—New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) – so as to curb crime during custody and facilitate prisoners’ reintegration into society.