Sep 082016

MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration is taking a second look on how to implement the long-delayed P10.528-billion Batangas-Manila natural gas pipeline project, a ranking government official said yesterday.

The Bat-Man pipeline project is among the six and the only energy-related public-private partnership (PPP) projects up for approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board, PPP Center executive director Ferdinand Pecson said in his presentation during The Philippines Energy and Infrastructure Finance Forum 2016 yesterday.

Pecson said the project is now being reviewed by the Department of Energy (DOE).

“The Bat-Man project is not submitted for the NEDA board meeting this month,” he said. “It is being reviewed whether it will continue in the same form and structure as it is today. The DOE, I suppose with the new administration, is having a second look at this.”

During the previous administration, the DOE was eyeing other options to implement the project due to off-taker concerns.

In January this year, former socioeconomic secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the DOE had asked for an opportunity to present to the Cabinet-level NEDA board the issues and other options to implement the Bat-Man pipeline.

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When asked whether the Bat-Man project could be approved this year, Pecson said it will be included in the next NEDA board meeting as soon as the DOE completes its review.

“That depends on when they would submit it finally for NEDA board approval. it’s still with the DOE,” he said.

While the Bat-Man project is still under review, the PPP Center will be prioritizing those projects submitted to the NEDA board for immediate approval in its meeting this month, such as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Development project and the Plaridel Bypass Toll Road, Pecson said.

“What we were looking at more is the projects that have been sent for NEDA board approval. The NAIA project is, for sure, will be part of the coming board meeting. We are also awaiting the final decision on this Plaridel Bypass Tollroad project. The issue there is the ROW cost has increased, so the total project cost has gone up outside the threshold for which another review is necessary,” he said.

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