By EMMIE V. ABADILLA
Aboitiz InfraCapital has urged for increase in infrastructure spending, whether funded by government or private sector, saying infrastructure will rebuild the battered domestic economy.
Cosette V. Canilao, Aboitiz InfraCapital President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said that Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), in particular, can help fill in gaps brought about by funding reallocations amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“We understand that the government earmarked funding from other programs, including infrastructure projects, to address the COVID-19 impact. The private sector through PPP, could take up the void that the reallocation from infrastructure projects has created,” Canilao explained.
For Aboitiz InfraCapital’s common tower project, discussions with partners Globe Telecom, Smart Telecom, and Dito Telecommunity on the first batch of towers are still ongoing.
“The current crisis has clearly proven the urgent need for digital infrastructure to support better telecommunication services, and the Aboitiz Group is ready to provide this through our common tower project,” she noted.
On-the-ground activities such as site surveys and site acquisitions are expected to resume once the Luzon and local ECQs are lifted.
Aboitiz InfraCapital also said it is ready to resume discussions with the government for its airport bids (Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Laguindingan Airport, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport as part of the NAIA Consortium), post-ECQ.
“We remain keen on the airport projects as we believe that these are vital in reviving the economy. As with all of the Aboitiz Group's projects and businesses, we are as¬sessing COVID-19's impact on our proposals,” Canilao noted.
The government and the private sector need to work more closely together in putting in place programs that would revive the travel and tourism industry, as it is one of the hardest-hit sectors in light of the current COVID-19 crisis.
Aboitiz InfraCapital is also open to discussing with the government its unsolicited proposal along with the Ayala Group and Unisys, for a National Identification Card (ID) system previously submitted to the PSA in 2018.
The urgent need for a National ID system became even more ap¬parent under the present conditions to help hasten COVID-19 aid distribution.