By Ben O. de Vera
MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN)
The Duterte administration’s plan to jack up infrastructure spending to as much as 7 per cent of the economy by 2022 would bring about a “golden age of infrastructure” in the next six years, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said Wednesday.
Still, Diokno told reporters that despite the planned spending boost, it might take a decade before the infrastructure gap in the country would be totally addressed.
The budget chief was also proposing more “hybrid” public-private partnership (PPP) projects to speed up infrastructure development.
In a speech at the general membership meeting of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex), Diokno said the government would spend close to 900 billion pesos (US$19 billion) on hard public infrastructure to make up for years of “neglect”.
Diokno said they planned to roll out “simultaneously, not sequentially,” small, medium and large projects in all regions.
“The next six years will be the golden age of Philippine construction, both public and private,” Diokno said.
The budget chief earlier said the Duterte administration would order non-stop or 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week construction work on most urban-based projects to fast-track infrastructure buildup.
From a share of 5.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) next year, infrastructure spending would be increased to 7 per cent of GDP by the end of the Duterte administration, Diokno said.
Three to four more railway lines in Metro Manila were needed to shuttle commuters in the metropolis alongside additional airports, he said.
Diokno said the Duterte administration would have to decide on where to build a new air transport hub—whether Sangley Point in Cavite or Clark in Pampanga—within the year.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself was also proposing a highway connecting Clark and Makati City, he added.
The government will continue to enjoin private sector participation in the infrastructure buildup through PPP, although the budget chief said he preferred “hybrid” PPP projects.
Under the hybrid PPP setup that Diokno is proposing, the government will build the facility and later on tap a private firm for maintenance.