Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries said Sweden-based companies like the Volvo Group and Saab are eager to lend their expertise to the government and take part in the Build Build Build program.
AP/Aaron Favila, File
Volvo, Saab, lead Sweden firms eyeing Philippines infra prospects
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - April 27, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Swedish companies led by Volvo and Saab are taking a look at the Philippines to provide sustainable solutions to the ongoing efforts to modernize the country’s infrastructure, particularly in setting up a bus rapid system and beefing up security in the country’s airports.

In a recent meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries said Sweden-based companies like the Volvo Group and Saab are eager to lend their expertise to the government and take part in the Build Build Build program.

“The Build Build Build program generates a lot of interest among Swedish businesses,” Fries told Dominguez during the meeting.

The Volvo Group manufactures trucks, buses, construction equipment, and industrial engines, while the Saab Group specializes in defense and security systems.

“For infrastructure, we sell sustainable solutions. We have many decades of successful work in this area in Sweden. The Swedish infrastructure minister has invited Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to Sweden to study how we do it,” he said.

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA is set to open soon in the Philippines.

“I know that the first store of IKEA is much anticipated by many Filipinos. It will be great for the Filipino consumer — and hundreds of jobs will be created,” Fries said.

Ulf Wennblom, country manager for the Philippines of Business Sweden, was also present during the meeting.

He said Sweden has been “in close contact” with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to come up with efficient alternative solutions, such as the provision of passenger buses on EDSA, to help ease the woes of commuters riding the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) system.

“Sweden has also provided financial and engineering support to the DOTr to help implement these alternative solutions, “and we also want to take that forward and build an efficient line on EDSA by integrating rail, buses, and other means of transport to have a complete transport system throughout Metro Manila,” he said.

Dominguez told the delegates from Sweden the Duterte administration wants a holistic approach in implementing its infra modernization program, in which Sweden can help by providing engineering solutions.

Dominguez cited, for instance, proposals to improve the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) or construct a new one near Metro Manila aside from the Clark airport, which requires not only completing these projects, but also extensive planning on the road and rail networks that need to be built to ensure seamless travel to and from the airport site.

“We need to know how much rail we need to go there, how long will be the highways we have to connect, and I think your engineering support can help us,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez also mentioned the plan to relocate the current airport in Zamboanga City in Mindanao to a better location.

“We have so many opportunities in the Philippines to improve the situation,” he said.

AIRPORT SECURITY BUS RAPID SYSTEM CARLOS DOMINGUEZ INFRASTRUCTURE SAAB VOLVO
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