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Philippines approves three PPPs worth $5.2bn

Bidding is expected to kick off this starter for new PPP projects including a $3.9bn railway and two major roads.

The Philippines’ National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board on Monday approved three new public-private partnership (PPPs) projects collectively worth PHP231.7 billion ($5.2 billion; €4.6 billion).

The NEDA approvals follow a government trip to Singapore earlier this month to promote a fresh string of PPPs announced last December. These comprise six airport concessions identified by the World Bank as essential to realise the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC), an action plan designed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2010 to help address Asia's large infrastructure need.

The 653-kilometre North-South Railway Project (NSRP) (South Line) BOT project, budgeted at PHP 170.7 billion, is to be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The Department of Transport and Communications (DOTC) will meanwhile oversee the NLEx-SLEx Connector Road (budgeted at PHP25.6 billion) and the Cavite Laguna Expressway (CALAx, budgeted at PHP 35.4 billion).

Implementing agencies are preparing for the publication of invitations to pre-qualify and bid for NSRP and CALAx, the two solicited projects, and are to advertise the terms of a Swiss Challenge for the NLEx-SLEx Connector Road, an unsolicited project.

The proposed NSRP South Line PPP covers Metro Manila to Legazpi City, Albay, plus a number of existing and proposed branch lines. It comprises commuter railway operations between Tutuban and Calamba and long haul railway operations between Tutuban and Legazpi, including extended long haul rail operations on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and between Legazpi and Matnog.

The NLEx-SLEx Connector Road project involves the construction and operation and maintenance of a 13.5-kilometre, four-lane elevated expressway over the Philippine National Railway (PNR) which starts in Caloocan City and ends in Buendia, Makati City. The project will connect North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to alleviate traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

The CALAx project will provide a critical link for the provinces of Cavite and Laguna by connecting the Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), two major toll roads. It will include the construction of centralised toll plazas, a toll collection system, viaducts and bridges, noted a statement by Philippines’ PPP centre.

Last December 2014, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) published an invitation to pre-qualify and bid for the development, operations and maintenance of six airport PPP projects: Laguindingan, Davao, Bohol, Iloilo, Bacolod and Puerto Princesa Airports.

Twenty-nine PPP projects are to be pursued by the DOTC, while the Department of Public Works and Highways are together overseeing twelve projects. The Department of Health, Department of Education, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and other government agencies will implement the rest of the proposed projects. As of January, there are 61 PPP projects in the pipeline.