Public and private partnerships

>> Friday, February 24, 2017

Ike Señeres

In theory, a Public-Private Partnership (P3) is a contractual arrangement between a government agency and a private sector entity that could either be a private company or a non contragovernment organization (NGO).
It is implied however that the agreement could either be for a commercial purpose (for profit) or for a social purpose (non-profit). More often than not, these agreements would always involve some kind of financing, so that a project could be completed sooner.
Because of the joint sharing provision, it is also implied that each side should contribute some skills or assets to the joint project, meaning to say that it should not just be a one way action such as the provision of a grant or the donation of funds.
With that clearly said, it is obvious that foreign aid of purely financial or material components is not included, and neither are financial supports that are purely charitable or philanthropic in nature. To some extent, it could be said that the financial support could be developmental in nature, provided of course that there would be joint sharing, and not just one sided giving.
As the name suggests, a P3 could actually be a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA), but apparently that is not the kosher term right now.
I am sure that many of us are wondering what the difference is between P3 and the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme, because I used to ask that question myself. That question is significantly relevant to this discussion, because the government has already renamed the old BOT Center into what is now called the PPP Center (PPP being a variant of the name P3).
Based on the definition that I earlier proposed, it could be said that BOT and all its variants are all approaches towards P3, meaning to say that these approaches are just different financing schemes towards the ultimate goal of enabling the investor to recover his investment. It seems however that P3 has a broader coverage, because it includes projects with social purposes that are non-profit in other words. Just to end the confusion, the government still welcomes BOT proposals via the PPP Center.

As I understand it, a P3 is usually done on a bilateral basis, but nothing prevents it from being done on a multilateral basis. For good measure however, there should always be a lead proponent on each side, even if there are two or more proponents on both sides.
By the way, Local Government Units (LGUs) are included in the P3 framework, all the way down to the barangay level, in much the same way that National Government Agencies (NGAs).
However, joint efforts between LGUs and NGAs are not considered part of P3. If and when LGUs would want to join a multilateral P3, they could perhaps join the lead NGA on the public sector side.
Not to brag, but I was in the First Quarter Storm, the Diliman Commune and EDSA I. Now in my senior years, I now would like to spend the rest of my life no longer attacking the government or protesting against it, but to help it and work together with it, so that it could deliver services to the general public as it should, by way of the P3 approach.
As everyone knows, the government is always lacking in skills and assets, because the government agencies could only rely on the annual budgets that are provided to them under the General Appropriations Act (GAA), budgets that always fall short of their needs. Given the fact that governance is not only the responsibility of the government but also of the governed, P3 is a concept that is most practical to adopt.
Fortunately for all of us, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is now a law, and therefore all private companies should have their own CSR programs one way or the other. As it usually happens however, each company would tend to have their own CSR projects here, there and everywhere, without any rhyme or reason, so to speak. On the part of the government, there is a Philippine Development Plan (PDP) that requires all government agencies to align with it.
Aside from that, the United Nations also has the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that has “Partnerships for the Goals” as its Goal # 17. Hopefully, I will have the chance to help in establishing a P3 portal that will integrate and combine all CSR, PDP and SDG initiatives under an atmosphere of active coordination and collaboration.
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