The $160-billion infrastructure plan over the next six years – looks very promising.
“Market rallied strongly. You have excess funds?”, my financial counselor called me up, a few weeks ago.
Surprised, I asked him for the reason . He replied “local economy is vibrant”. At the back of my mind , I was thinking about the negative news about our President and the country. Did it really affect the economy? Apparently, the negative news did not affect the economy. A stock broker friend confessed to me that he has never seen the local economy looking this good, not even during the Aquino administration.
This motivated me to put some of my excess funds in mutual funds. Just this week, I got to attend the forum “The DuterteNomics Forum” organized by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), in cooperation with the Center for Strategy, Enterprise & Intelligence (CenSEI) . It bolstered my confidence that there is hope for the Philippine economy.
It was mentioned that the Philippines is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and expanded 6.9 per cent in 2016, its quickest pace in three years. The 2017 forecast is the midpoint between 6.5-7.5 per cent.
One of the foundations for a sustained economic development is infrastructure development. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia explains that “as a bedrock strategy, it will support all three pillars of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 – malasakit, pagbabago at patuloy na pag-unlad. Characterized as the “Golden Age of Infrastructure in the Philippines”, the implementation of the country’s medium term infrastructure program constitutes policy reforms, programs, and projects designed to accelerate infrastructure development.”
The PDP espouses a National Spatial Strategy (NSS) that sets the direction of future growth. Sec Pernia added that the government recognizes population, geography and the role of cities as engines of economic growth. They will design infrastructure that will provide efficient connectivity and create networks of sustainable urban and rural communities, consistent with our long-term vision. Here are the component strategies of the NSS:
1. Build on the efficiencies and maximize the benefits of scale and agglomeration economies
It aims to decongest NCR and direct growth to key centers throughout the country.
2. Connect the settlements to form an efficient network
This means improving linkages among settlements and key production areas by connecting rural areas to growth centers or strengthening urban-rural linkages
3. Make vulnerability reduction an integral part of development
This involves instituting prevention and mitigation measures to reduce the impact of natural disasters on the community.
This is exciting because for the first time in history, the major infrastructure agencies of the national government are talking and coordinating: National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) , Department of Transportation (DOTr), Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). The government believes that the Build Build Build projects are the solution to unemployment, high prices in consumer goods, traffic and transportation. I learned this way back when I took Economics in College. Housing starts (or construction) spurs the economy. That is one of the concepts that struck me about Economics.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) says that for USD $ 1 billion spent on infrastructure, 200,000 direct jobs are created. The International Monetary fund likewise says that “a sustained increase in public infrastructure spending 5% of GDP would add a total of 5-6% to GDP after 15 years.”
Build Build Build means
1) more bridges and roads;
2) more railways, urban mass transport, airports and seaports; and
3) new and better cities.
Actually, the Duterte ‘s administration “Build! Build! Build!” mantra involves 64 big-ticket infrastructure projects in the pipeline. Some P3.6 trillion are being set aside for the three-year rolling infrastructure program (TRIP) for several sectors that include transportation, energy, information communications technology, social infrastructure and waste management, among many others. Remember, while these projects will help boost our economy , you can be part of this history by making sure all transactions are transparent. Visit build.gov.ph for the details of the infrastructure projects.
Now, let me show just 18 of these infrastructure projects out of 36 listed in build.gov.ph that could propel our country’s economic growth.
More bridges and roads
- Santa Monica- Lawton- BGC Link Bridge
BGC en route to Ortigas. There is a possibility of reducing 100,000 vehicles along EDSA
2. UP-Miriam-Ateneo Viaduct
Ever since 1980, this area has been a traffic nightmare. That’s like over 30 years ago . With the UP-Miriam-Ateneo viaduct, expect 80% decrease in travel time at Katipunan and CP Garcia.
3. Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros-Cebu Link Bridge
When completed, you can find it easier to travel to Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros and Cebu via a bus or car.
4. Davao City bypass construction project
Travel to Digos, Davao del Sur through Panabo, Davao del Norte which will be only 45 minutes instead of the usual two hours
5. NLEX-SLEX Connector road
Imagine , 30 minutes only to travel from Alabang to Balintawak. Wouldn’t you love that?
more railways, urban mass transport, airports and seaports
6. Manila-Clark railway
Guaranteed ONE HOUR from Metro Manila to Clark International Airport
7. Metro Manila Bus rapid Train system
Will we expect faster and on-time schedule of the bus plying along EDSA and the wider roads in Metro Manila? Now that is a dream come true…if ever.
8. Mindanao railway
Only two hours from Davao to Surigao and Cagayan de Oro? It is said to be cheaper transportation means. This also means food and agricultural produce won’t rot anymore in transit.
9. Regional Airport Development
This will mean our airports won’t be in the list of worst airports anymore.
10. RORO ports development
We need RORO as we are composed of islands.
New and better cities
11. Clark International Airport , New terminal building
It is about time we move our airports to decongest the city.
12. Clark Green City
This is the long term solution to the Metro Manila traffic
13. BGC to NAIA Bus rapid transit system
Wow, one can arrive at the NAIA airport within 15 minutes from Fort Bonifacio. No traffic and no delay if this is true
14. Subic Clark cargo railway project
There is a connection from the Subic port and the Clark airport to reduce the truck traffic in Metro Manila.
There are projects from the DOTr.
15. Mega Manila Subway Phase 1 from Quezon city to Taguig
The proposed 13 stations are along Mindanao Avenue, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas and Katipunan in Quezon City; Ortigas North and Ortigas South in Pasig City; Kalayaan Avenue in Makati City; Bonifacio Global City, Cayetano Boulevard and Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig; and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City. The P227 billion Mega Manila subway project between the Philippines and the government of Japan. “The 25-kilometer underground mass transportation system – the first in the country – will connect Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Taguig up to NAIA in Pasay. Expected for completion by 2024, the subway will reduce travel time from Quezon City to Taguig to only 30 minutes – substantially easing the nightmarish traffic congestion that Metro Manila residents suffer from almost daily. ”
Senator Grace Poe adds that the design should be “future-proof” and should have room for expansion to accommodate the growing population in the metropolis. Moreover, she cautioned the government about entering into disadvantageous contracts that hounded the EDSA MRT-3 and brought public inconvenience.”
16 . NLEX Harbor Link
“A partnership between the Department of Public Works and Highways headed by Mark Villar, with Manny Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific. Already halfway finished, this elevated roadway will transport cargo from the Manila ports to NLEX for points north, expediting logistics and keeping big container trucks out of Manila’s busiest streets.”
17. Luzon Spine Expressway
This will cut travel time between La Union and Bicol to less than 12 hours and includes the North-South Connector Road, already being built by Metro Pacific, that will let travelers between NLEX and SLEX bypass Metro Manila streets altogether.
18. PNR North and South Rails
“The northbound link spans 100 kilometers from Tutuban to Clark, while the southbound link will connect first to Calamba and Los Baños, then to the Bicol region.”
All of these projects if implemented well , will surely benefit our children. There will be sacrifices while the construction is going on. Meanwhile, you and I can be vigilant citizens by watching out that the money is well spent. Citizen Jane adds “the amounts involved for the planned infrastructure are going to be mind boggling. And where there is a lot of money, and if the system is not airtight, there will be a lot of money to be made on the side. Not to mention substandard construction. It happens in the private sector. It happens in government.”
Let’s all work together to make this happen. Visit build.gov.ph for the details of the infrastructure projects.
The need for infrastructure is one of the great global challenges of our time…Failure to invest means failure to grow and develop our social and economic fabric”
Images from build.gov.ph. Some rights reserved