Speaker Martin Romualdez on Monday supported the call of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for local government units (LGUs) to enter into more partnerships with the private sector for their infrastructure development, services, and expansion.
Romualdez also lauded the Iloilo City government under former congressman Mayor Jerry Treñas, for forging a public-private-partnership (PPP) with SM Prime Holdings for the redevelopment of two city-owned public markets.
“I support the appeal of President Bongbong Marcos for LGUs to get into more PPPs to speed up growth in the regions, which in turn will generate employment and livelihood opportunities for our people,” Romualdez said.
He said engaging in PPPs would free up funds that LGUs could use for other vital public services.
It would also discharge LGUs from the responsibility of running infrastructure projects that, based on government experience, are better managed by the private sector, Romualdez said.
The Iloilo city government recently signed a 25-year lease agreement with SM Prime Holdings, Inc. for the redevelopment of the Central Market and the Iloilo Terminal Market.
The SM allocated about P3 billion to fund the redevelopment.
According to the accord, the project will be implemented at no cost to the city and would benefit about 2,800 market vendors.
The Speaker pointed out that aside from public markets, there are a number of projects LGUs could offer to private investors for funding and development arrangement, such as toll roads, hospitals, irrigation systems, and housing.
These could easily attract private funders because such projects would not run out of customers and users, he added.
Romualdez noted that people in many highly urbanized and populous areas in the regions are experiencing Metro Manila-type traffic congestion due to lack of roads, and development has been focused in the town centers.
LGUs could go into PPPs for diversion roads that would decongest these areas and promote faster travel, he said.
Romualdez also said local governments could tap big companies, adding that the Iloilo City-SM market development project would benefit thousands of vendors and small, medium and micro entrepreneurs.
President Marcos encouraged LGUs to go into more PPPs during a meeting with officers of the League of Cities of the Philippines in Malacañang on Tuesday.
“There are plenty of opportunities, especially in infrastructure…Local government generally cannot do it by itself. We have to find partners, we have to find investors. You’re used to that,” he told the city mayors.