By Ben O. de Vera
With 10 big-ticket infrastructure projects worth a total of over P59 billion moving to the construction stage this year, the Philippine government is enjoining global institutional investors to pour money into its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program.
“We have identified 75 strategic infrastructure projects to be completed over the medium term. Of these, 35 have gone through the approval process and are ready for execution. These projects will make the movement of people and goods across the archipelago more efficient. It will bring all the islands into the mainstream of economic growth. No island and community will be left behind because of poor logistics,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a speech before the Asia-Pacific Investors Cooperation in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday.
“The modernization of our infrastructure and our governance will bring enhanced connectivity to the Philippine economy. They will open many opportunities for the global investment community. I hope that you will examine our ongoing programs and decide to participate in the strong emergence of the Philippine economy,” Dominguez said.
To speed up the “Build, Build, Build” program, Dominguez said the government continued to streamline processes while cutting red tape.
“It is our desire to see the strategic projects completed at the shortest possible time in order to immediately realize their economic value and lessen unnecessary financing costs,” Dominguez said.
Documents provided by the Department of Finance to reporters showed that at least 10 of the 75 flagship infrastructure projects under “Build, Build, Build” will start construction in 2018.
The biggest project to begin this year is the P35.3-billion Mindanao Rail Project (Phase 1), which will build 102 kilometers of non-electrified single-track rail system connecting Davao City, Digos and Tagum in the Davao Region.
The massive railway project will be financed by the national budget and a loan from China.
Three projects to be financed by China will also start construction in 2018: the P4.6-billion Binondo-Intramuros and P1.4-billion Estrella-Pantaleon bridges along Pasig River via grants and the P4.4-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in northern Luzon via a loan.
Under a loan from South Korea, construction will commence for the P4.9-billion Panguil Bay Bridge Project in Mindanao.
In all, 30 flagship infrastructure projects worth a total of P1.04 trillion will start implementation in 2018, according to the National Economic and Development Authority.