Philippines' pre-qualification request for school PPP

The much-vaunted PPP programme in the Philippines finally appears to be gathering momentum. A request to pre-qualify for a school infrastructure project follow’s last month’s announcement of the highest bidder for an expressway link road.

The Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd) has invited applications to pre-qualify to bid for the design, financing, construction and maintenance of one- and two-storey school buildings under three different types of contract package. The public-private partnership (PPP) involves the building of an expected 2,528 school buildings and 9,332 classrooms.

This first part of a two-stage process will see prospective bidders pre-qualified by the DepEd based on legal, technical and financial capability requirements. A deadline of 23 April 2012 has been set for pre-qualification submissions. The prospective bidders which pre-qualify will then be invited to submit their bids.

This latest process follows the announcement last month that a partnership of Ayala Corp, the Philippines conglomerate, and Getinsa Ingineieria, the Spanish engineering firm, had submitted the highest complying bid of Ps902 million (€16.2 million; $20.6 million) for a 30-year concession to construct, operate and maintain a four-kilometre road linking Daang Hari road in Cavite to the South Luzon Expressway.

The link road is the first project bid out under the Aquino administration’s PPP programme, which has been subject to delays. In July 2011, the project that was hotly tipped to be the first to emerge from the programme was shelved. Although a bid process had been opened amid several expressions of interest, the Metro Rail Transit 3 and Light Rail Transit 1 project was deferred until further notice and made subject to a review when Manuel Roxas took over as transport secretary from Jose de Jesus.

The light rail project was part of a 10-strong PPP pipeline. In order to get the pipeline moving, Philippines finance secretary Cesar Purisima said he was taking steps to ensure the availability of long-term financing and to implement an appropriate regulatory system for infrastructure projects.

The government has also announced plans to fast-track infrastructure development with the release of Ps141.8 billion of funding for infrastructure projects from the recently enacted General Appropriations Act of 2012, according to a report in the Philippine Star. It added that the budgetary allocation to infrastructure is 25.6 percent higher in 2012 than in 2011.