Philippines to invest more in infrastructure projects

The Philippine government will continue to invest more and build resilient infrastructure that would transform the country into a desirable market for tourism, trade and investments in the global arena.

“Our target is to increase infrastructure spending from 3.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014 to at least 5 percent in 2016,” said Economic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan.

Government spending will be supplemented by public-private partnership (PPPs) projects to free up public resources and utilize the provision of much-needed social services.

“In line with mobilizing the private sector, the government will continuously improve governance in the sector and institute policy reforms to improve the business climate in the country.”

Balisacan noted that while there is progress, there are gaps that need to be addressed within the remaining years of the Aquino administration.

The government is working to step up investments in infrastructure to be at par with the country’s neighboring countries and keep up with rising demands of our fast-growing economy.

Over the past three years, the government has made considerable progress in terms of initiating and implementing strategic plans, policies, and reforms to encourage investment in infrastructure.

The Philippines has revised the guidelines and procedures for entering into joint venture agreements between the government and private entities to promote competition and encourage private investments in infrastructure.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has revitalized programs on energy efficiency and conservation including the demand-side management and promulgated implementing rules and manuals for the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market. Likewise,

The NEDA board committee on infrastructure (INFRACOM) has approved the proposed amendments to the National Sewerage and Septage Management Program (NSSMP) to increase the number of local government units (LGUs) and water districts that would avail of the program.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has adopted the Japanese standard to facilitate the country’s switch from analogue to digital broadcast system to enable the modernization and growth of the broadcast industry.

Balisacan also pointed out that the government is producing physical framework plans covering major areas in the country. One important milestone is the development of the roadmap for transport infrastructure development for Metro Manila and its surrounding areas with assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

The roadmap includes short, medium, and long-term strategies and investment programs for the development of the transport infrastructure sector.

Balisacan said the roadmap serves as a guide in the development of policies, prioritization, and design of transport programs and projects and approved by the INFRACOM and the NEDA board in 2014.

The NEDA board, under the Aquino administration, has approved a total of 97 projects amounting to P1.39 trillion, 81 of which are critical infrastructure programs and projects with a total cost of P1.24 trillion to support the growth requirements of the country’s economic sectors.

Of the total number of approved projects, 24 are funded through PPPs, 54 projects are financed through Official Development Assistance (ODA) and 19 projects are for local financing.