Philippines hikes public infrastructure spending to 2.6 trillion pesos

The Philippine government would increase its public infrastructure spending to at least five percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 estimated at 2.06 trillion pesos.

Socio-economic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan said the priority programs for the infrastructure sector consist of 952 projects to be supplemented by private sector investments through public-private partnerships (PPPs).

To optimize public-private partnerships and enhance the country’s attractiveness to private sector investors, the government has reviewed, amended and approved policies and legal framework involving private sector participation such as the IRR of the BOT Law (RA 7718) and the joint venture guidelines.

Reforms in the energy sector have also increased private sector participation. In July 2012, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approved the feed-in-tariff (FiT) rates to encourage renewable energy developers to invest at the initial stage and hasten deployment.

To improve competitiveness and geographic connectivity, the pocket open skies policy was issued in 2011, allowing foreign carriers to operate unilateral and unlimited traffic rights to airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), said Balisacan.

The Common Carriers Tax (CCT) aims to enhance the country’s competitiveness in international travel by encouraging international air carriers to include the Philippines in their primary routes.

“On top of these policies, the government is pursuing the synchronization of planning, programming and budgeting to ensure that the programs and projects are aligned with the country’s developmental goals and outcomes,” said Balisacan.

“Sustaining the economy’s high-growth trajectory requires continued investment in infrastructure to unleash the potentials of many areas throughout the country.”

The Philippine government has encouraged the private sector to participate in the construction and implementation of various programs and projects that have been identified in a number of infrastructure-related roadmaps and master plans.

Some of the priority transport infrastructure programs include the Transport Infrastructure Development Roadmap for Metro Manila and its surrounding areas, the Logistics Infrastructure Roadmap for Mindanao, to improve logistics infrastructure for cost-effective linking of Mindanao’s agriculture and fishery production centers the DPWH and Department of Tourism (DOT) Convergence Plan, to provide road access to designated priority tourism destinations under the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP).

Other approved infrastructure master plans include the  Flood Management Master Plan for Metro Manila and Surrounding Areas and the E-Government Master Plan (EGMP).

In the energy sector, the 2013-2017 Household Electrification Development Plan (HEDP) issued by the Department of Energy (DOE) sets the plans and strategies to attain 86.2-percent household electrification by 2016 and 90-percent by 2017, while the Philippine Energy Plan 2012-2030 targets 100-percent electrification of villages by 2015.

To promote energy conservation and energy efficient technologies, the Department of Energy (DOE) is implementing various activities under the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program (NEECP), while the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) aims to develop specific technologies and help the country triple its renewable energy capacity by 2030.