published at Blogwatch
“This is well and truly a celebration. Welcome, all of you, to the Daylight Summit.”
During last week’s Infrastructure Philippines 2010 Summit, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III delivered what were perhaps the sweetest assurances to profiteers in recent years. One, that investors in public-private partnerships (PPP) projects will be protected from regulatory risks arising from court orders and decisions. Two, that the government will readily spend its resources to pay the sponsor in case the courts, the legislature and other regulatory bodies get in the way of the private partners’ profiteering.
Anyone in his right state of mind will see that such obviously pro-business terms and conditions under PPP do not spell out partnership; it’s puppetry. The Palace ties its hands, gives private sponsors the upper hand in fixing user’s fees (forget about the so-called formula), and even vows to compensate whatever would be deemed as losses should the courts intervene. No rules, just guarantees. And that is at the expense of the tax-paying public.
Which means that under Aquino’s PPP, private contractors are already lottery winners ahead of the raffle draw. How could you be luckier than that?
The proposed scheme gets even more alarming as the Supreme Court (SC) flashes a thumbs-up sign to Aquino’s PPP policy. In a report, SC spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez said that the government can continue paying the investor for a disputed contract until the court decides against it. Pay now, nullify the project later. The high court won’t mind if private contractors have already made milking cows out of every Filipino as long as it doesn’t see the project as contrary to public interest.
It can be remembered that when President introduced PPP during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), he said that the government will not spend a single cent. “Hindi tayo gagastos, kikita pa tayo,” as Aquino boasted in his speech. Yet apparently, it is the government which will shell out the first billions for the PPP projects.
More articles on PPP:
Arroyo-Aquino Infrastructure Projects by Mong Palatino