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Philippines appoints third PPP head in a year

The hire comes as the Duterte administration is preparing what it says will be the biggest infrastructure push in the country’s history.

Ferdinand Pecson has been appointed as executive director of the PPP Centre of the Philippines, the organisation responsible for developing the country’s PPP pipeline, streamlining procurement processes and shaping up related policy. 

Pecson replaces Andre Palacios, who was appointed in March to head the centre for three months during the presidential transition. Palacios has now joined the Asian Development Bank as a legal expert. He will be tasked with reviewing the Philippines’ competition policy, according to his Linkedin profile. 

The Filipino government said the appointment of Pecson is in line with the Duterte administration’s socio-economic agenda, which aims to boost growth through greater infrastructure spending. 

The government plans to launch the biggest infrastructure push in the nation’s history, according to the state-run Philippine Information Agency. The country’s infrastructure departments, including the National Economic Development Agency, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, are currently crafting the Duterte Infrastructure Plan, which calls for new and upgraded roads, bridges, railways, airports and a new metropolis. 

Infrastructure spending during the first years of the Duterte presidency is forecasted to reach 5.4 percent of the country’s GDP – its highest level in 21 years. 

Pecson said the PPP Center plays a “very strategic” role in the country’s infrastructure development, allowing the private sector to help improve the quality and safety of construction through its participation in projects.

He aims to optimise PPP processes by tackling previous procurement bottlenecks, adapting best practices and cataloging lessons learned. Pecson said he will also work closely with implementing agencies and strengthen the structure of the organisation. 

The new PPP Centre head has over 20 years of experience with the private sector in the field of construction, supply and engineering, the centre said. Prior to joining the government, he held various positions in Copenhagen-headquartered construction firm FLSmidth for seven years. He was previously a vice-president for operations at Holcim Philippines, a construction material supplier. 

The PPP Centre has awarded 14 projects since its inception in 2010. Its pipeline currently comprises 11 projects under tender and two more recently approved for procurement.