Diokno: PPP-funded projects worth half of Marcos' ₱9-T infra program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) — The administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is turning to public-private partnerships (PPPs) to fund half of its multi-trillion peso infrastructure program, his finance chief said Friday.

"The whole program is worth ₱9 trillion, and half of that would be through public-private partnerships," Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno told CNN Philippines' The Exchange.

Of the 194 major projects under the "Build Better More" infrastructure program, Diokno said 47 of these are of "PPP variety."

PPPs are part of the funding mix of Marcos administration's infrastructure program — the rest being official development assistance (ODA), bilateral agreements, and part of the yearly national budget, Diokno added.

This is a shift from the approach of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration — where Diokno served as budget chief and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor — which preferred ODA to fund its infrastructure items.

"What are the big items? For example, we'll focus on say, ferry systems, hospitals, ports, railways, toll roads, busways, airports," Diokno said.

How effective are PPPs as funding source?

For Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon, it depends on the kind of project it will be used on.

"PPPs are only viable for actually commercially viable projects. So in other areas of infrastructure development and in general development, there are projects that can only be taken by government funding itself or by borrowing through ODA," Ridon told CNN Philippines.

For instance, ODA is best used for projects in still-emerging areas like provinces, he added.

Ridon noted that initiatives like the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and developing the EDSA Busway would suit the private sector's involvement.