New BOT Law IRR in effect

Estrella-Pantaleon bridge pictured on July 8, 2021. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law took effect on Wednesday, which the Finance department hopes would help the Philippines attract more private investments in infrastructure projects.

“The revised IRR of the BOT Law will allow us to mobilize private sector resources as an engine for capital and a catalyst for growth. This move will produce exponential returns for our country that will span generations to come,” Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said in a statement.

The IRR, which was published on Sept. 27, amended key provisions that addressed concerns “over the financial viability and bankability of public-private partnership (PPP) projects as well as clarify ambiguous provisions that might have caused delays in the PPP process.”

For instance, the definition of the Material Adverse Government Action (MAGA) was revised to cover all government actions, not just the Executive branch.

The IRR was amended in response to criticisms by business groups that the previous version of the rules compels private proponents to shoulder more risk while relieving the government of responsibility for delayed deliverables.

Mr. Diokno said the new rules will be crucial in unlocking the benefits of PPP, as well as “reap higher multiplier effects for the economy.”

“Projects that fit into the approved master plans and connect regions would be given priority to ensure that all Filipinos benefit from economic growth,” Mr. Diokno said.

Meanwhile, PPP Center Executive Director Ma. Cynthia C. Hernandez said the amended rules will boost PPP projects.

“The PPP Center is hopeful that the amended IRR will speed up the process of doing viable PPPs and bring in more jobs and help deliver better services to the public,” she said in a separate statement.

The PPP Center said there are currently 74 projects worth P2.25 trillion in the pipeline as of end-August. These include 53 national projects and 21 local projects. — A.O.A.Tirona