Proposed 2016 budget: billions of PPP funds allotted to support private sector profits

These cover expenses for right-of-way acquisition and displacement of informal settlers by at least 13 road and expressway projects

Contrary to Pres. Benigno Aquino’s claims that the government is not spending for public-private partnerships (PPPs) and that the private sector is even paying the government, billions of pesos are again allotted for selected PPP projects in the proposed 2016 national budget.

Like in the 2015 budget where funds were allotted to support big business profits, initial estimates made by IBON find that the 2016 National Expenditure Program (NEP) also has some Php65.9 billion allotted for a handful of PPPs implemented by the country’s richest corporations. This is an increase from the Php52.7 billion PPP budget in 2015, the research group said.

The proposed 2016 budget retains the Php30 billion-risk management program, which is the financial and regulatory risk guarantee to protect private profits against, for instance, disallowed fare hikes. Also maintained is the Php1.6 billion fund for amortization and lease payments on school buildings constructed by Henry Sy’s  Megawide Construction Corp. and its consortium partners.

Moreover, there is a large increase in PPP strategic support funds which go more than double to Php24.8 billion. These cover expenses for right-of-way acquisition and displacement of informal settlers by at least 13 road and expressway projects of or eyed by the Ayala Corporation, San Miguel Corporation, Metro Pacific, Megawide, Aboitiz Equity, JG Summit and a few other big corporations.

The 2016 NEP also includes at least Php9.5 billion for various Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) projects, both of which are privatized or in the middle of privatization. Rail fares were already hiked substantially at the start of the year but additional LRT fare hikes are already being eyed by Metro Pacific and Ayala Corporation, the private sector winners of the LRT Line 1 expansion and operation project. (end)

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