Infra projects 24/7 construction to start next yr – DBM

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The government’s plan to implement a nonstop construction for infrastructure development will have to wait until next year in order to respect existing contracts, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

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“We cannot go on 24/7 construction yet, because of existing contracts,” Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno told members of the Makati Business Club during the group’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

However, its “all systems go” by 2017 for the government to skirt underspending.

“There are a lot of projects that can be done simultaneously, the way to do it is to prepare for it now,” he said.

The projects will be offered to bidders as early as the fourth quarter, but the contracts will be signed once the budget for 2017 is passed into law.

“All preliminary works are ongoing now so that by January 1, all systems go,” he said.

“I’m telling you, I told my colleagues in the Cabinet, my worst fear is that we will suffer the same fate of underspending if you don’t do your job. So that’s why President Durterte said, ‘You spend it or you lose it – your job’,” Diokno noted.

The government is changing the way it implements infrastructure projects, according to the Cabinet official.

“Construction work for major infrastructure projects in urban centers will go on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week come 2017. All major projects will be geo-tagged so that we can monitor them on a weekly basis using Google Maps,” he noted.

At present, the DBM and the Department of Public Works and Highways are looking at all the projects in the pipeline.

“I assure that our infrastructure reforms will not be for nothing. The government has already started streamlining the approval process for major public infrastructure projects,” he said.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board has approved nine projects worth P171.3 billion.

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