Philippines establishes partnership for urban infra

The country’s PPP Centre has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Cities Development Initiative at ADB.

In an effort to boost the infrastructure investment and management capacity of Philippine cities, the country’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Centre has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Cities Development Initiative in Asia, a development initiative backed by the Asian Development Bank.

Under the new partnership, both parties are hoping to streamline the process of launching urban infrastructure projects and getting them implemented, according to a joint statement. They are also particularly interested in encouraging the private sector to play a more active role in infrastructure development on a smaller scale in the Philippines.

“The PPP Center and CDIA both share a common objective of assisting cities in the Philippines to link development projects to downstream financing and see the importance of the private sector in playing an increasing role in the implementation of urban infrastructure investments,” the statement said.

The partnership is particularly keen to provide advisory services and training to local city governments regarding PPP project preparation and development, as well as financing options. Both parties hope their combined training will make it possible for local governments to “bridg[e] the gap between their urban infrastructure investment plans and financing”.

In the actual implementation of infrastructure projects, the new partnership also plans to draft project proposals that are simpler, conduct feasibility studies and launch programs that address financing constraints in urban infrastructure, while being sure the projects are environmentally friendly and address urban poverty, according to Jimbo Reverente, consultant at the PPP Centre. The PPP Centre and the CDIA will also work with other organisations and local businesses where appropriate.

To date, the PPP Centre has primarily been focused on national-level PPP projects, Reverente told Infrastructure Investor, but the CDIA on board the Centre hopes to add the capacity for local projects within single municipalities. “We're wanting to focus on the cities that have gaps in their infrastructure, especially outside the capital region,” he explained.

In 2011, the PPP Centre also signed a MOU with the Department of the Interior and Local Government of the Philippines, whereby the Centre was allowed and encouraged to offer training and advisory services to select city governments. This most recent partnership follows the same lines.

Established in 2010 by the Philippines’ Aquino administration, the PPP Centre serves as an advisory and monitoring body for the Philippines' many PPP projects, working especially with other government bodies on the implementation of their projects. CDIA is a regional initiative established in 2007 by the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Germany, focused on helping medium-sized Asian cities bridge the gap between their development plans and the implementation of their infrastructure investments.