Press Releases

Salceda hopeful of passage of PPP Law “around SONA time:” House tax chair says measure will boost investments by cash-rich Pinoy companies

May 26th, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district), who headed the House’s technical working group in charge of drafting the chamber’s version of the Public Private Partnership Law, says that the House is “ready to meet with our Senate counterparts” and that he is “hopeful we can talk by SONA time or just a little after that.”

The House tax chair said this as the Senate has begun plenary deliberations for the measure, which Salceda says he expects “will probably need ironing out by both chambers in a bicameral conference.”

“There will probably be some issues to settle between the two chambers, but we are ready. We are very thankful that the Senate moved with dispatch on this. I think they will be finished by July,” Salceda said.

Salceda said that apart from the P18 trillion in liquidity currently in the financial system, the largest conglomerates have also set aside “at least P1.2 trillion” in capital expenditures for the year.

“That means there is plenty of private resources that the government can tap into for infrastructure, especially given fiscal constraints.”

Apart from other major provisions, Salceda says that “the baselines for agreement between the Senate and the House should be three key things.”

“First, we should finally put to rest the issue of what is materially adverse government action, so that the issue of contingent liabilities can be cleared once and for all.”

“Second, we need to clarify thresholds for approval and who should approve what. LGU, NEDA Board, or just the implementing agencies, and for which kinds. Definitely, I think we should respect local autonomy about approvals where there is no national government guarantee or debt exposure.”

“Finally, we need to clear up the rules and the convertibility between solicited and unsolicited projects. Because a lot of the differences in flexibility of bidding come from that distinction.”

Enactment before September

Salceda adds that “the passage of the PPP Law will probably not go beyond September 2023. At the very least, PBBM should be able to announce it as being under advanced stage of discussion when he does his SONA.”

“I also expect not a lot of debate among executive agencies since this went through a process of reconciliation through the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office. Actually, that is the standard practice now among measures whose technical working groups I chair. We let the PLLO settle the differences between agencies, so that we discuss just one administration bill. I then discuss my own amendments with the executive branch so that we avoid the risk of a veto.”

“I think this will be law by September. Anyway, we are always ready to meet with our Senate counterparts if there are major differences between our versions. Right now, I haven’t seen a provision I am vehemently against. We’ll see,” Salceda added.

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