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Dominguez sees partial completion of infra projects by 2022

Dominguez

MANILA, Philippines — There are many stumbling blocks besetting the Duterte administration’s Build BuildBuild program, but the government is hoping to finish at least half of the 75 planned projects by the end of President Duterte’s term in 2022, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said.

“There are many problems to get programs going…As people know when you do a large project it takes a bit of time for everything to fall in place to get going,” Dominguez said when asked what is the single roadblock preventing the government from accelerating the infrastructure program during a forum organized by the Manila Overseas Press Club last week.

The Duterte administration has vowed to usher in the so-called golden age of infrastructure in the country through its Build Build Build program wherein government would spend P8.4 trillion for infrastructure in the next six years.

Funding for the projects to be developed by the government will come from a mix of sources such as bilateral loans, official development assistance, and own government funds.

Dominguez, head of the Duterte administration’s economic team, assured the government is doing what it can to speed up the process.

“We have been meeting once every two weeks with the Chinese and Japanese team and the idea here is to cut down the processes to move faster and we have made progress in our case,” he said.

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The finance chief said the procedures took a lot of time in the past.

“To get a project approved in the Philippine government, you have to have a project study and then it has to pass the technical committees of the different departments and then the Investment Coordination Committee and then it goes to the NEDA Board. In the past the NEDA Board approval is not possible without confirmation from the board which takes another 60 days. So now it’s approved and confirmed at the same time. We’re also trying to have approvals, three in one including the approval of the budget. We’re trying to cut the red tape and trying to move ahead more quickly,” Dominguez said.

Of the 75 projects in the pipeline, Dominguez said half or at least 37 would be completed by the end of Duterte’s term in 2022.

“Out of 75, obviously not all. Probably, half will be finished but the rest will be ongoing because the implementation for instance of the Kaliwa Dam is three years,” Dominguez said.

Among the different projects, the top three that are sure to be in place are the Clark Airport, a portion of the Manila Railway, and the third will be a portion of the Mindanao Railway, he said.

He said the funding commitments the government received from both China and Japan came at the end of October last year.

“However, by November this year, a year and one month after the Chinese made the commitment, we will start construction with the bridges, the Pasig bridges. By early next year, we will start with Kaliwa Dam and the irrigation project in Cagayan Valley. That is not so bad,” he said.

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