Construction sector pushes long-term infra master plan
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The local construction industry is pushing for a 30-year infrastructure master plan to ensure the continuity of projects.

DMCI Holdings Inc. president and chairman Isidro Consunji, who also serves as chairman of the Philippine Overseas Construction Board, said a law should be crafted for the country’s long-term infrastructure master plan.

While there are infrastructure plans in place, he said the tendency is for these to change along with the end of an administration and entry of a new president.

“The problem is, we have an ambition for 20 years, 30 years, but our planning as of today, normally ends with each president. We will have projects which are discontinued. There is no continuity because we lack a long term infrastructure plan. So that is what we are asking, advocating to government,” he said.

The industry, along with technical experts and key government officials are crafting a new bill called the 30-year infrastructure master plan law.

“The components of this law is first to create a national policy for the infrastructure master plan and a minimum of five percent of GDP (gross domestic product) will be spent annually,” Consunji said.

Also part of the bill is the criteria for projects to be included in the infrastructure program, as well as how it will be implemented.

Consunji also said the industry would be willing to assist the government in crafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

 “We want to make sure whatever we plan, we will have the IRR and be able to implement it properly,” he said.

When plans change, it is not only the status of projects which are affected but also the productivity of workers.

“Productivity of workers has not changed dramatically in the last 30 years. This is because the demand keeps changing. You can’t invest in new technology, in digitization. You’re not sure if you can recover your investment. That’s why it is important to have long term planning of infrastructure. It’s all linked,” Consunji said.

At present, the Duterte administration is implementing the Build Build Build (BBB) program for infrastructure development.

In order for the BBB program to be implemented beyond Duterte’s term, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has said the government is looking to institutionalize this through a law which would allocate a certain percentage of the budget for the program every year.

He said the government would propose it in the legislative agenda within the year.

DMCI HOLDINGS INC ISIDRO CONSUNJI
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