Diokno sees 2017 infra spending hitting 90% of year’s target

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Spending on infrastructure by the end of 2017 may reach only 90 percent of the budget allocation for the year, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

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DBM data shows the government has so far spent 23.28 percent of the P847.2 billion allotted for infrastructure this year.

“It will shoot up to about 90 percent this year,” Diokno told reporters on the sidelines of an infrastructure forum in Makati on Thursday.

“It will pick up. Construction is like an S-curve. It will start slow then will get faster toward the end,” Diokno explained.

“I think the second half will be much better than the first half,” he added.

Infrastructure expenditure in May grew 38.1 percent to P46.2 billion from P33.5 billion in April, according to the national government’s disbursement performance for the fifth month of the year released by the DBM on Thursday.

Low interest rates

Diokno lauded the low interest rates accompanying loans intended to finance the priority infrastructure projects of
the current administration.

“As interest rates dip, infrastructure spending will go up,” Diokno said.

Diokno emphasized that infrastructure projects should not be concentrated in Metro Manila but must also be implemented in the Visayan and Mindanao regions.

Mindanao’s potential

“Mindanao has immense potential. If developed properly, Mindanao can supply the whole food requirements of the entire Philippines,” Diokno said.

“We plan to link Luzon to Visayas and Visayas to Mindanao (through) long bridges,” Diokno added.

The Mindanao railway, one of the big-ticket projects to be built under the Duterte administration, is scheduled for construction in 2018.

This first phase of the 830-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project loop involves the establishment of a 102.28-kilometer commuter railway from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Digos City in Davao del Sur.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said earlier there were certain projects that were not expected to be fully completed under Duterte’s term, including the Mindanao Railway.

“If the entire system cannot be done, at least the first phase will be completed during the term of President Duterte,” Tugade said.

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