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Business

Government eyes review of BOT Law IRR next month

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is hopeful the review of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) law can begin by next month.

“We have already received the President’s directive to review the IRR of the BOT law. We are presently awaiting the convening of the committee to review the rules,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said at the 2022 EJAP-SMC Economic Forum.

In the meantime, he said NEDA and the Public-Private Partnership Center have started consultations with the private sector for the review.

Among those to be covered by the review are concerns raised on the risk sharing between the private sector and the government.

Earlier, the private sector had raised concern over the BOT’s IRR, which were amended during the Duterte administration.

The revised rules are seen to place more risks on the part of the private sector.

The concerns raised include the Material Adverse Government Action (MAGA), which refers to any act of the executive branch that the proponent had no knowledge of, or could not reasonably be expected to have had knowledge of, prior to the effectivity of the contract, and which occurs after the effectivity of the contract that specifically discriminates against the private proponent, and has a material adverse effect on the ability of the proponent to comply with its obligations under the contract.

Under the IRR, MAGA covers acts of the agency or local government unit and approving body, acts of the executive branch made in the exercise of regulatory powers, and acts of legislative and judicial branches of government.

The private sector has also raised concern on the provision that the government cannot be taken to court for arbitration.

“Of course the careful review of the rules requires that we perform a balancing act: encouraging private investment to promote job creation, technological innovation, and product competition while protecting the public interest,” Balisacan said.

Aside from the review of the BOT’s IRR, he said NEDA is ramping up the issuance of the IRR of the Public Service Act which is among the economic reforms approved under the previous administration to encourage more foreign investors to the country.

Under the amended PSA, sectors such as telecommunications, domestic shipping, railways, subways, airlines, airports, expressways and tollways will now allow full foreign ownership.

“It’s (PSA IRR) due for release in October,” Balisacan said.

IRR

NEDA

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