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PIA Press Release
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

 

Feature: Public-Private Partnership gains ground in Butuan City

In July 2011, Toyo University first brought the idea to the Butuan LGU about conducting a study on possible Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects in Butuan City.

Today, six months after that initial contact, Butuan City is attracting more and more interest from foreign investors who are willing to undertake projects in Butuan City under the PPP scheme.

Butuan City was the first target of the studies of the Toyo University PPP Graduate School outside of Japan. This was an initial step to the establishment of the Asian PPP Institute (APPPI), launched in Tokyo on November 15, 2011.

APPPI Director and professor Sam Tabuchi, together with 10 PPP graduate students, came to Butuan City in September 2011 to conduct their intensive field study on possible PPP projects for the city.

For one week, Tabuchi’s team visited proposed project sites such as Masao Port, Butuan Medical Center, and Langihan Public Market. Interviews were also conducted with representatives from the City Government and Regional Line agencies, the private business sector and the academe. The team concluded their visit with the presentation of their initial report to city officials and other stakeholders.

The final report “PPP Possibilities for the Future of Butuan City” was presented in Tokyo, Japan on November 2011 and attended by representatives from the region.

The Toyo University final report presented several areas where PPP can be applied in Butuan City. The report included recommendations in the field of agriculture, recycling, waste conversion, economic enterprise, and tourism.

One such recommendation is the mechanization of the agriculture industry to improve rice production. According to the report, Butuan City can recycle unused farming equipment from Japan such as the ones used in the town of Itakura, Gunma-ken, Japan. The report also highlighted the need to establish an Agricultural Cooperative which will address the needs of the Butuanon farmers.

Another noteworthy recommendation is the conversion of waste to energy or organic fertilizer. The Toyo PPP Team lauded Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr.’s program on Solid Waste Management and the implementation of waste segregation at the household level through the “Clean Gorund, Zero Waste” program of the City Government. This particular field drew the interest of several Japanese companies and pushed them to pursue investment talks with Butuanon entities.

After the presentation, Toyo University signed a Memorandum of Understanding for future collaboration with Father Saturnino Urios University, Caraga State University and Saint Joseph Institute of Technology.

The Philippine Investment Environment Seminar also followed suit where investment opportunities in Butuan City were presented to representatives from the Japanese business sector.

Following the release of the report and as recommended by Toyo University, Mayor Amante signed Executive Order No. 51 on December 29, 2011, creating Butuan City’s PPP Executive Team.

This is the first major step so that the local PPP efforts can move forward. The PPP Executive Team is tasked to “initiate, catalyze, conceptualize, systematize, steer, coordinate, and oversee the dynamic pursuit of the economic agenda through PPP.”

And just last January 17-18, 2012, Tabuchi revisited Butuan City to check on the progress of the City Government in relation to the Toyo PPP report. He congratulated Mayor Amante on the creation of the PPP Executive Team, which made Butuan City the first LGU in the Philippines to do so.

To date, three Japanese companies have expressed interest to invest in Butuan City. A group of professors from Toyo University is also set to arrive on March 2012 to pursue the plans of offering a short course on PPP to local government workers and businessmen, in cooperation with FSUU, CSU, and SJIT.

With all these developments in Butuan City, Butuanons remain hopeful that Butuan can grow into a booming economic center in Mindanao and relive its glorious past as a vital trading port in Asia. (Butuan CMO-PIO)

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