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Duterte admin to spend P7T for infra in next 6 years

In this Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 photo, Filipino passengers ride a crowded train of the Manila Metro Rail Transit System during rush hour in the financial district of Makati, Philippines. AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — Public infrastructure spending will be in the neighborhood of P7 trillion from 2017 until 2022, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

The goal of higher spending for public infrastructure is to make up for past neglect, create decent jobs, modernize the crumbling public infrastructure and propel the economy to a higher and sustainable growth path, Rolando Toledo, DBM director of Fiscal Planning and Reforms Bureau, said at a forum last Friday by the Center for Philippine Futuristics at the Asian Institute of Management.

"Part of our considerations in crafting the budget is the goal to accelerate infrastructure spending," Toledo said.

On Monday, the DBM submitted the proposed P3.35 trillion national budget for 2017 of the Duterte administration. It said public infrastructure spending will be about 5.4 percent of the GDP in 2017. 

'Golden age' of infrastructure

The proposed budget for infrastructure for 2017 amounts to P860.7 billion, 13.8 percent higher than this year's allocation.

Of these, P355.7 billion will be allocated to fix road networks, railways, seaport systems and airport systems.

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Meanwhile, the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network, which seeks to reduce logistic costs by improving linkage roads to key ports and other production areas in Mindanao, will get P31.5 billion in 2017. This is higher than the P19.5 billion allocation this year.

The Budget department added that the rollout of infrastructure projects would be accelerated with the revitalized Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

"[W]e will allow the private sector to propose innovative and viable projects outside the pipeline. We will also invite the private sector to help with the operation and maintenance of infrastructure facilities after government constructs them," according to the President's Budget Message for Fiscal Year 2017 released by the DBM.

Last July, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the Philippines would see a "Golden Age of Infrastructure" in the next six years. In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), some of the promises Duterte made on infrastructure include:

  • Accelerate infrastructure spending by improving national roads and bridges and implementing the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network and other road network master plans. 
  • Pursue inter-island linkage projects.
  • Implement structural mitigation measures to address of the perennial flooding in Metro Manila and neighboring areas. 
  • Pursue rail projects in Metro Manila and the major key points in the country including the Mindanao Rail Project.
  • Decongest NAIA including the possible transfer of general aviation to either Sangley Point or Clark on the condition that there will be a fast train.
  • More access roads and tourism gateways to service centers and tourist sites.

"The Duterte administration is committed to make public services more meaningful — reaching the marginalized and the poorest sectors of the society," Toledo said.

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