Philippines adds new infrastructure deals to auction pipeline

MANILA Fri May 30, 2014 12:42am EDT

MANILA May 30 (Reuters) - The Philippines has added two new infrastructure ventures to a pipeline of projects it will offer to investors under a public-private partnership scheme, part of government plans to boost economic growth and create jobs, a senior state official said on Friday.

Since launching the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme in late 2010, the government has awarded only seven projects with a combined value of $1.4 billion.

The Philippines, however, needs $20 billion annually in infrastructure investment to sustain economic growth, attract direct investment and alleviate poverty, the Asian Development Bank said in a report last year.

Manila has faced criticism from investors over the slow pace of its infrastructure roll out, but argues it had to rework the deals to prevent the corruption that has plagued similar projects in the past.

Among the PPP contracts that could soon be up for auction is the 18.7-billion pesos ($426 million) New Centennial Water Source project, which aims to finance and construct dams to ensure water security in the capital, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told Reuters in a telephone interview on Friday.

The project was endorsed for bidding after approval on Thursday night by an inter-agency board headed by President Benigno Aquino.

Also approved for bidding was a contract to operate and maintain Line 2 of Manila's elevated railway network.

On Wednesday, a consortium formed by Metro Pacific Investments Corp, Ayala Corp and Macquarie Group Ltd. submitted a lone bid for a 65 billion pesos contract to upgrade and extend Manila's oldest elevated railway line, currently the most expensive PPP project put to auction.

Under the current PPP pipeline, three other projects totalling 141 billion pesos are up for bidding, including the 35-billion pesos Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project.

($1 = 43.87 Philippine pesos) (Reporting by Siegfrid Alegado; Editing by Eric Meijer)