MALACAÑANG on Thursday unveiled an P8.2-trillion plan to build new roads, bridges and transport facilities for the next six years, promising a “golden age of infrastructure development.”
Three Cabinet officials – Socioeconomic Planning chief Ernesto Pernia, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar – vowed to complete the projects in three to five years, before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
The board of the National Economic and Development Authority, headed by the President, has approved nine projects, and seven more are being studied, Pernia said.
Pernia said the Duterte administration’s infrastructure spending would reach 5.4 percent of the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 alone, compared with previous administrations that allocated an average of 2.6 percent of GDP to infrastructure in the last 50 years.
“These projects will require ramping up the spending on infrastructure … we’ll keep it at least at 5 percent of GDP and it will likely go up higher to 7 percent until the end of the Duterte administration,” Pernia said.
Villar said the government would create new hubs to decongest Metro Manila and bring development to the regions.
Among the road and bridge projects is the Sta. Monica – Lawton – Bonifacio Global City (BGC) Bridge, which Villar said would cut EDSA traffic by 100,000 vehicles.
The Iloilo – Guimaras – Negros – Cebu Link Bridge will be the “most ambitious project,” costing $1 billion, he said.
Other key projects are the UP – Miriam – Ateneo Viaduct, the Northern Luzon Expressway – South Luzon Expressway Connector Road, and the Davao City Bypass Road that will run from Digos City, Davao del Sur to Panabo, Davao del Norte.
“In our budget this year, 25 percent is allocated to a nationwide decongestion program. This is unprecedented
in the history of our country and I think that we’ll be able to—in the next year we’ll be able to feel the effects of these infrastructure spending,” Villar said.
Tugade said there would be three major railway projects: the Manila – Clark Railway, the Subic-Clark Cargo Railway, and the Mindanao Railway that will pass through Davao, Surigao and Cagayan de Oro.
Tugade emphasized the need for Congress to approve emergency powers for the Executive branch to expedite the ambitious projects.
“We are only asking for a window of two years,” he told reporters
“If it’s not given, we will do what we think ought to be done. But there will be delays. Is the population willing to wait some more?” he said.