The “accidental” real estate broker from Cebu, Dr. Samuel Ortega Lao, is now the Nationa...
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is pushing for public-private partnerships (PPPs) for around P800 billion worth of irrigation projects nationwide, according to a report by Philippine Star.
With PPP’s focus on reduced costs, better risk allocation, faster implementation, improved services, and possible generation of additional revenue, the NIA is calling on the private sector for the much-needed investments in the agriculture sector.
In a media briefing yesterday, NIA administrator Benny Antiporda said the agency is strengthening its PPP thrust with 50 potential irrigation projects nationwide.
He said the estimated development cost of these irrigation projects amounts to P594.76 billion but this could balloon to P800 billion due to inflation, rising prices of materials, and other factors.
Majority of these are big-ticket multipurpose projects with hydropower component with potentials on floating solar power farm and small river irrigation projects (SRIPs) with reservoirs that can be utilized for floating solar power farm and/or mini-hydroelectric power plant.
“The biggest problem of NIA is funding to undertake irrigation projects,” Antiporda said.
He said the agency had conducted a study on PPP projects and already began efforts towards forming a special committee for inviting experts.
NIA has already received pledge of investments amounting to more than P1 trillion from different investors.
“There are potential applications for more than P1 trillion from potential private partners which will then allow irrigation projects without restrictions of funding,” Antiporda said.
NIA hopes to start rolling out PPP irrigation projects ahead of the second year of the Marcos administration.
Antiporda said the agency can only assure the success of PPPs if there is no corruption.
The agency has filed cases with the Office of the Ombudsman against two officials in its legal department, Lloyd Allain Cudal and Mary Annabelle Cruz-Domingo, for violating the Republic Act No. 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees, Gross Inexcusable Negligence, Misconduct and Conduct Unbecoming of Public Officers in the performance of their official duties.
This was after the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) ruled in favor of Green Asia Construction Development Corp., holding NIA liable to pay P205.96 million.
The case is is appealable to the Court of Appeals through a petition for review but Cudal and Cruz-Domingo filed a motion for reconsideration instead, which is a prohibited pleading before the CIAC while the petition for certiorari was dismissed by the CA for being the wrong remedy.
Antiporda said NIA stands to lose the Green Asia case due to the officials’ lackadaisical attitude and cavalier handling of the case.