By Ben Rosario
Various government corporations and agencies owe the Public Private Partnership Center some P854.84 million representing costs of feasibility studies conducted on infrastructure and other projects that were not implemented.
The Commission on Audit asked PPPC to demand from the agencies the immediate reimbursement of the feasibility study costs of the terminated projects.
COA made the recommendation in the recently released 2017 annual audit report for PPPC, an agency that was created by the Aquino administration which made public-private partnerships part of its centerpiece agenda.
However, last year, many projects were terminated as a result of the change in policy under the Duterte government.
Public-private partnerships were abandoned as President Duterte pursued its “build-build-build” infrastructure program through official development assistance or foreign loans.
COA said PPPC should recover the cost of feasibility studies for projects terminated as of 2017.
The audit agency said PPPC should compel the implementing agencies to return the project development costs (PDC), plus 10 percent administrative cost.
Of the P854.84, national government agencies account for P679.03 million of the receivables, while government-owned and controlled corporations account for P166.81 million.
COA said PDC refers to the costs of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, which are initially charged against the revolving fund called the Project Development and Monitoring Facility. In cases of terminated projects, guidelines provide for the implementing agencies to reimburse 100 percent of the PDC.
IN the audit report, COA acknowledged the PPPC’s efforts in pressuring agencies to pay up but “very low or non-collection of long outstanding receivables” remained unaddressed.
For one, it was only able to convince the Department of Transportation to reimburse P23.2 million for the motor vehicle inspection system project last year.
According to COA, the uncollected amounts rose by 102 percent in 2017 compared to the 2016 total of P418.48 million.
State auditors explained that this meant the PPP Center saw a quicker rate of increase under Duterte administration, as the 2016 figure was only 22 percent higher than the 2015 total of P343,160,236.29.
The report said the North-South/Integrated Luzon Railway Project accounted for the largest share of receivables at P205.8 million, and the amount had been pending reimbursement by the DoTr for more than five years already.
Also uncollected is the to the P115.18-million feasibility study cost of the project to extend Light Rail Transit Line 1 to Dasmariñas City, Cavite, and the P5.65-million cost for the rehabilitation of the Angat Hydroelectric Power Plant turbines.
More PPPC receivables were recorded from the feasibility study of the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (P151.84 million), the New Centennial Water Source Project (P101.07 million), the Batangas-Manila Natural Gas Pipeline Project (P48.78 million), the Plaridel Bypass Toll Road Project (P43.71 million), and the Puerto Princesa Airport (P38.09 million).