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Transparency, National Security, And The Navy’s Modernization

July 28, 2010

Private-Public Partnership or PPP is the buzzword of the  month-old administration of President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III.

So he sounded particularly gung ho when he announced that the Philippine Navy faces the real prospect of modernizing its fleet  that’s “as old as the time of (US General Douglas) MacArthur.”
He even framed his announcement in terms of our national security needs:
Mayroon po tayong 36,000 nautical miles ng baybayin. Ang mayroon lamang tayo: tatlumpu’t dalawang barko. Itong mga barkong ito, panahon pa ni MacArthur.
May nagmungkahi sa atin, ito ang proposisyon: uupahan po nila ang headquarters ng Navy sa Roxas Boulevard at ang Naval Station sa Fort Bonifacio.
Sagot po nila ang paglipat ng Navy Headquarters sa Camp Aguinaldo. Agaran, bibigyan tayo ng isandaang milyong dolyar. At dagdag pa sa lahat nang iyan, magsusubi pa sila sa atin ng kita mula sa mga negosyong itatayo nila sa uupahan nilang lupa.
Sa madali pong sabi: Makukuha natin ang kailangan natin, hindi tatayo gagastos, kikita pa tayo.
(We have 36,000 nautical miles of shoreline, but we only have 32 boats. These boats are as old as the time of (US General Douglas) MacArthur.
Some had this proposition: they will rent the Navy headquarters on Roxas Boulevard and the Naval Station in Fort Bonifacio.
They will take care of the funding necessary to transfer the Navy Headquarters to Camp Aguinaldo. Immediately, we will be given 100 million dollars. Furthermore, they will give us a portion of their profits from their businesses that would occupy the land they will rent.)
Applause is surely in order, right?
But as always, the devil is in the details.
And the sooner they are made public, the better for all of us.
Particularly as the PPP initiative was announced via his maiden SONA, people are asking just how much of  ‘a done deal’ this Navy HQ relocation already is and whether the proponents have somehow pre-negotiated it with the President himself.
This writer is button-holing his usually reliable sources in the military and no solid information is yet available.
Zilch likewise from people in the Board of Investments.
We’re hoping that the National Economic Development Authority will soon be able to shed light on which entity authored the proposal and how it’s been examined by the ICC or Investment Coordination Committee.
This is the ICC and its mandated:
1. Review the fiscal, monetary and balance of payments (BOP) implications of major capital projects (MCPs) and recommend to the President the timetable of the implementation of these projects on a regular basis. In this regard, the following shall be taken into account, among others:
a. peso requirements of the project in terms of the current and capital outlays needing peso support directly or indirectly from the national government (NG) and/or government financial institutions (GFIs);
b. foreign exchange requirements of the project in terms of the current and capital outlays needing foreign exchange directly or indirectly from bilateral and/or multilateral sources;
c. sources of funds;
d.  terms and conditions of the proposed financing; and
e.  where applicable, compliance to foreign debt ceiling under RA. 4860, as amended, per certification of the Bureau of Treasury.
2. Submit to the President a status of the fiscal (budgetary), monetary (credit), and BOP implications of MCPs.
3. Review/evaluate specific MCPs with respect to technical, financial, economic, social, and institutional development, feasibility/viability as well as from the context of sectoral plans and geographical strategies, and recommend to the NEDA Board for approval3.
II.                Organizational Structure of the ICC
ICC Cabinet Committee (ICC-CC)
Secretary of Finance –                          &nbspChairman
Director-General of NEDA –                  &nbspCo-Chairman
Executive Secretary –                           Member
Secretary of Budget and Management-   Member
Secretary of Trade and Industry-            Member
Secretary of Agriculture –                     &nbspMember
Governor of the Central Bank –              &nbspMember

http://www.neda.gov.ph/Subweb/oda/ICC/icc_guide.htm

The PPP mantra’s partner principle is supposedly transparency.

This should be clearly operative in the case of the Navy modernization project before suspicious tongues begin to wag.
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