Malacañang approves BOT IRR review

Published August 17, 2022, 2:50 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

President Marcos has approved the review of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

At the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP) forum on Wednesday, Aug. 17, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said that Malacañang is now preparing an executive order (EO) for the review.

“We have already received the President’s directive to review the Implementing Rules and Regulations or IRR of the BOT Law. We are presently awaiting the convening of the committee to review the rules,” Balisacan said.

He said Malacañang is aware of its urgency as the Marcos administration really wants to get the private sector to think about investments.

“Hopefully by next week we already get the EO, but in the meantime, we are actually already doing our own consultation with the private sector, and the NEDA and the PPP [Public Private Partnership] Center have been talking with stakeholders,” he said.

As early as now, Balisacan disclosed that they have received several private sector stakeholders’ comments expressing their concerns over specific provisions of the IRR.

Among the provisions critical during the review will be the contingent liability or Material Adverse Government Action (MAGA) clauses, sharing of risk and the arbitration issue.

“Of course, the careful review of the rules requires that we perform a balancing act: encouraging private investment to promote job creation, technological innovation, and product competition while protecting the public interest,” the NEDA chief said.

Asked if President Marcos was apprised about the issues on the BOT IRR, Balisacan said “we discussed it a number of times already with him and he’s aware of the issues.”

“We need to look at the issues, and see what can be—we have to strike a balance between the need to get the investors and at the same time aware of the risks that government faces,” he said.

President Marcos said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) that infrastructure development will remain a top priority of his administration to drive employment, agriculture, tourism, and overall economic growth.

The Marcos administration plans to interconnect the archipelago and sustain infrastructure investments at five percent to six percent of gross domestic product (GDP) annually until 2028.

Infrastructure development will focus on mass transit, railway systems, and more airports and seaports.