THE GOVERNMENT’S infrastructure timetable is on track with more project launches expected in the first quarter, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said.
His remarks follow groundbreaking on the first “hybrid PPP (Public-Private Partnership),” the Clark International Airport expansion project, which got off the ground with initial funding from the government, with the PPP mode to be employed in the operations and maintenance portion of the project.
“This shovel-ready project was approved in the first 18 months of the Duterte administration. In fact, the formal approval came only six months ago,” Mr. Dominguez III said in a speech during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Clark Airport expansion project on Wednesday.
The government tweaked the pure PPP model, which it said was too slow, by funding the initial stages of the project. It also wants to tap more official development assistance (ODA) to finance an ambitious infrastructure-building drive.
“In the previous administration, the projects of PPP took an average of 30 months from conception to start of implementation. It took the Cavite-Laguna Expressway 50 months to conceptualize and begin the implementation,” Mr. Dominguez said.
“This will not happen in the case of the many infra projects that will commence in the Duterte administration in the next few months. This administration brooks no delay in building the projects that the people need and the public deserves,” he added.
Among projects to be rolled out in the first quarter next year are the Malolos-Clark Philippine National Railways North line, the Quezon City and EDSA portion of the Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit system, and the first phase of the Mindanao Rail Project.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia has said that the government will be able to implement about 12 big-ticket infrastructure projects next year.
This year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved 14 new projects, with most implemented through hybrid PPP mode.
Under the new government, 36 projects were approved by the NEDA Board, worth P1 trillion.
Mr. Pernia also said that he expects another 15 project approvals in 2018.
The government aims to spend about P8.4 trillion in infrastructure until 2022, which is expected to boost economic growth by seven to 8% over the same period, while providing more jobs to cut the unemployment rate to three to 5% from 5.5% in 2016, and bring down the poverty rate to 14% from 21.6% in 2015. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan