Philippine economy
To speed up the construction of projects, the government last year revamped the list of infrastructure projects after some items were found to be “challenging and costly.”
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Roadblocks resolved, half of 100 Duterte flagship projects finished by June 2022

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - March 6, 2020 - 7:12pm

MANILA, Philippines — With procurement bottlenecks supposedly resolved, economic officials painted a rosy outlook for the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, projecting half of the 100 flagship infrastructures completed by June 2022.

In a statement on Friday, the investment coordination committee (ICC), which screens and approves state capital outlay projects, also said that the remaining 50 projects would be shovel-ready and begin construction under the current government.

That said, Duterte, who is only allowed a single six-year term under the Constitution, is still expected to leave his successor with more than P2 trillion worth of projects in the pipeline.

The optimistic outlook for the government’s infrastructure program comes at a time of criticisms over slow-moving projects that got stuck in bureaucratic red tape more than three years into the Duterte administration.

It is also in contrast to the sluggish pace of China-funded projects, which risk further delays as Chinese officials get preoccupied getting the coronavirus outbreak under control.

“We have identified the bottlenecks on the ongoing implementation of (official development assistance) and locally-funded infrastructure projects and explored ways and measures on how to address or eliminate these to accelerate their execution,” the ICC said.

In total, 42 of the 100 projects are already “ongoing implementation.” The government considers budgeting, financing, detailed engineering and procurement of a project as part of implementation.

“As of today, a total of 87 strategic projects in the areas of infrastructure, health, and agriculture, among others, have been approved since the start of the Duterte administration totaling P3.774 trillion,” the ICC said.

“Forty or almost half of these projects are included in the infrastructure flagship program,” it added.

Duterte has vowed to upgrade the country’s dilapidated infrastructure through his administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program. But critics have flagged the sluggish construction of the projects, with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon previously calling Duterte’s ambitious plan a “dismal failure.”

To speed up the construction of projects, the government last year revamped the list of infrastructure projects after some items were found to be “challenging and costly.”

From the original 75 projects, the new list now has 100 supposedly leaner projects, with the proportion of public-private partnership now higher than the previous list.

“The Duterte administration will continue to ensure that all infrastructure projects are implemented on time and on budget,” ICC said.

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