More foreign, private partnerships to boost Philippines growth, says group


MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): The Philippines needs to explore more bilateral and multilateral partnerships with like-minded nations to boost the country’s potential gains and development, international research organisation Stratbase ADR Institute for Strategic and International Studies (ADRi) said.

“Bilateral and multilateral cooperation with like-minded nations can usher in prosperity and development for all,” Stratbase ADRi president Dindo Manhit (pic) said during “The Geopolitics of Infrastructure: Opportunities and Challenges for the Philippines and the Indo-Pacific” forum recently.

However, he said these partnerships must be guided by the country’s “independent foreign policy and national interests.”

“The current administration must ensure that it safeguards the Philippines from potential economic, financial, and security risks,” said Manhit in a statement.

He also highlighted the government’s need to increase its efforts in building and modernising the nation’s infrastructure network, make business transactions accessible to possible partners, and create more regulatory development for local and foreign investors.

Meanwhile, Aboitiz InfraCapital president and chief executive officer Cosette Canilao said private sector participation in infrastructure projects would provide benefits such as increased financial capability, availability of technology, experts, and managerial competence, and improved service efficiency if public-private contracts are executed right.

“[As] PPP (public-private partnership) investors, we look for projects that are bankable – where risks are fairly allocated between the government and us. And we prefer investing in a market where there is a very steep commitment by the government to undertake an effective PPP programme,” she explained.

Likewise, Transportation Undersecretary Mark Steven Pastor said the agency hopes to take on more road infrastructure projects with foreign and private partnerships.

“We hope to encourage collaborative partnerships with different government levels, both locally and internationally, and even partnerships with the private sector,” Pastor said in the same statement.

“Bureaucratic challenges get in the way of intergovernmental partnerships,” according to Pastor.

He also mentioned risks that the government usually faces, such as “delay in implementation due to various internal processes and requirements in the Philippines, the strong need to tailor fit the solutions to adapt to the Philippines’ market and environment, the lack of standards, and changes in policy direction every new administration.”

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