Public-Private Partnership as mechanism for national and local development

Following up on the MRT and LRT controversy, and toward improving ‘doing business in the Philippines’, the government needs to revisit it’s method of dealing with partners from the private sector without who much of the development in the country would not have been possible at a relatively short period of time. The MRT was completed in four years whereas even after two generations barangay roads throughout the country remain badly in need of repair.  The nation stands to benefit greatly from PPP and while the system has inherent constraints these, as can be gleaned from the EU example below, are surmountable through proactive measures and an iterative process of system improvement.

The strategy in PPP is partnership.  That is, a partnership for the country’s development. Why partnership for development?  Well, no single person or entity or government can address all of a population’s development needs. It really takes a village. Hence as partners, the common aim of the DOTC/national government and MRTC should be to mend the rift – create a conducive environment for their partnership to flourish – and work something out together.  If you ask me, DOTC/national government should take the lead in modeling this partnership.

At the global level, such is also promoted, in fact it is the eighth goal of the MDGs: Develop a global partnership for development.  But this can only be attained globally only if it is practiced at the country level.

But what is partnership in the context of PPP?  How does the Philippine Goverment define it?  Have we performance indicators for it?

INGOs have, and just randomly there are key principles or ingredients of a successful partnership, like shared goals and values; shared ownership of the partnership; recognition of the different organizational cultures within the partnership; openness, trust, and honesty between or among the partners; dedicated time and resources for the administration and operation of the partnership; supportive atmosphere within the partnership wherein suggestions, ideas and conflicts are addressed. In what ways are these attained?  The partners communicate, coordinate, cooperate.

The outcome and dynamic that result from the coming together of different and otherwise independent organizations or entities has parallel similarities to ‘marriage’ wherein two otherwise independent individuals come willingly together to form the institution that is marriage. Within that shared space, it’s not anymore about what do I want but what do we want?  And given that there are other persons in the union, the trajectory of ‘we’ is toward what benefits the entire family, or in the case of public-private partnerships, the community, the nation. This is where the political will to bridge the divide will have to come from.

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