Ending the year with a bang, the Duterte administration has green-lit another 12 infrastructure projects worth a cumulative P626.1B. Giving approval this year allows the National Economic and Development Authority to jumpstart the process of implementation and secure the project’s place in the country’s infrastructure pipeline
Obviously, the administration’s heavy investments into infrastructure have paid off – a recent Pulse Asia survey showed that 69% of all Filipinos agree that President Duterte’s administration has exceeded the previous Aquino administration in nation-building through infrastructure.
Presidential adviser for flagship programs and projects Vivencio B. Dizon, who is also president and chief executive of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), said that the survey results show that the Build, Build, Build program has been a success.
“Very clearly, 69 percent of the entire country feel that we now have better infrastructure. I think this is a testament to what the President started under his ‘Build, Build, Build’ program and what the various infrastructure agencies—DPWH [the Department of Public Works and Highways] and DOTr [the Department of Transportation] and other agencies have implemented over the course of the past three years. But as Secretary Dominguez said, we’re not stopping—this is just the beginning, and the projects that were approved today is, again, a testament to our decisiveness and our determination and our will to push these projects forward,” Dizon said.
The numbers don’t lie either. According to Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, the Duterte administration inherited only P50 billion worth of infrastructure projects when it began in 2016.
Currently, the Duterte administration has over P1 trillion in projects in the pipeline, and still counting.
“We are well underway to covering most of the items in the new list of flagship projects, with a variety of projects—airports, bridges, highways and other ports, water ports and seaports also, to be covered,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Ernesto M. Pernia said.
The Duterte administration is ambitiously expanding its list of “big-ticket” infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program from the original 100.
The 12 latest additions approved by the NEDA–led interagency Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) to these are two unsolicited public-private partnership (PPP) airport projects for the Davao International Airport and the Laguindingan Airport, the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-4) which will run between Ortigas Center and Rizal, the EDSA Greenways Project, the Maritime Safety Enhancement Program, a bridge project to interlink Bataan and Cavite, a coastal road and a bridge for Cebu-Mactan, the Davao City Coastal Bypass Road, the Capas-Botolan Road Project, the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project and the Bucana Bridge Project in Davao as well.
“After passing the ICC-CabCom, we’ll be able to release the projects by early next year, allowing us significant time within the Duterte administration to significantly complete these game-changing projects. It’s crucial that we start these projects—we’ll be working on the procurement, that’s why we fast-tracked all these projects before the end of the year so that next year, we can focus purely on the detailed engineering and procurement of these big-ticket projects. With all of these projects, they are good to go, and we can expect implementation will start sooner than later,” Secretary Villar said.
The ICC-CabCom also gave the go signal to increase the budget, loan validity, and implementation of the Samar-Pacific Coastal Road Project.
“When you do a project, you have to do all the studies before that. So, we are now completing these studies. We will start as many projects as possible, and they will be ready just to be picked up by the next administration. So, we are presenting the Filipino nation with a robust pipeline,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said.
The projects are now being subjected to studies and appropriate planning. According to Dizon, the ICC-CabCom will be meeting again in January before forwarding their approved projects to the NEDA Board, which is chaired by President Duterte. They are expected to secure final approval by early next year.