Unfortunately, there is very little substantive information about most of the projects. A number of the projects in the glossy brochure, especially those in the green energy area, appear to be projects on paper only. It is unclear what financing mechanisms or revenue streams will be available to turn many of these projects into reality.
In an extraordinary opinion piece in The Philippine Star, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Roberto Romulo places the blame for a slow start squarely on the shoulders of NEDA Director General Cayetano Paderanga, Jr. The criticism is harsh. You really need to read the original piece to get the full flavor. Read it here.
Also of concern is the still unsettled matter of the airline terminal built by the German firm Fraport. Resolving that dispute in a fair and transparent manner would go a long way to reassure foreign investors.
So far, the Philippines has relied on a Millenium Challenge grant from the US and a concession loan from China to get started on some major transportation projects. But bilateral and multilateral aid will only accomplish so much. There must be sustainable revenue streams and adequate assurances of payment. Foreign investors understand that the types of take-or-pay contracts and guarantees available to construct power plants during the Ramos Administration are unlikely to return. Investors are waiting to hear what will take their place.
Woodbridge, New Jersey