The infrastructure crisis

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Today our country is in the midst of an “infrastructure crisis” caused by decades of inadequate investments and poor maintenance of public works. Daily the media raises alarming reports of an energy crisis which will accelerate the citizen’s date with purgatory in the summer of 2015. Beware the ides of May we are told. Incoming passengers bewail the poor facilities in the airports while commuters suffer daily from traffic jams made more acute by congestion in the piers. Life is almost not worth living in the city dubbed Pearl of the Orient Seas in the days of the Philippine Commonwealth.

Ironically billions of pesos in PDAF and DAP funds did not make a dent in this sector! We had hoped that the billions would have been employed to develop the port areas in Batangas and Central Luzon to decongest the Port of Manila to build the railway from the Metro to the Calabarzon and Northern Luzon, to rehabilitate the aborted nuclear facility, to complete the intramodal system within the Metro and develop the budding shipbuilding industry (which promoted the Galleon Trade of the past ) in Cebu and Subic and finally to address the unfinished business of the inadequacies of our international airports.

It goes without saying that basic physical and organizational structures propel the economy by providing the set of interconnected structural elements that are the framework supporting the entire structure of development. This is important not only in the production of goods and services but also in the distribution of the same.

Unfortunately for us, our infrastructure development has been at best haphazard like an ill-designed quilt and at worst suffering from benign neglect. For the next administration to accelerate development the following infrastructure development menu is recommended for immediate attention:


The improvement of the intramodal and intermodal transport system of highways, streets, roads, bridges, mass transit, airports and airways; the provision of adequate water supply and water resources (the next big crisis!) and most importantly, electric power generation and transmission.

In sum much more is needed in the areas of transport infrastructure such as mass transit systems, energy infrastructure of power networks, grids of both conventional and non-conventional energy water management of water systems including the system of reservoirs, pipes and other distribution systems; communications infrastructure of telephone and mobile networks to include communications satellites and undersea cables, and not but not the least solid waste management and meteorological monitoring networks in this typhoon prone archipelago.

The above items are what are known as hard infrastructure items. Below is a list of the soft ones which are equally important. These are:

1. Governance Infrastructure: a more efficient system of law enforcement, speedy justice, creative legislation and the efficient system of collecting storing, and disseminating data, laws and regulation.

2. Economic Infrastructure: a sounder macro-economic management, a solid banking system and that of financial institutions and the promotion of the internal and external stability of the currency.

On the harder infrastructure side —the provision of an efficient supply chain of logistics facilities such as warehousing and shipping facilities; manufacturing infrastructure such as industrial parks served by efficient transport system and cheap utilities. Last but not the least are agricultural, forestry and fisheries infrastructures served by feeder roads, extensive irrigation, warehousing facilities a research and development institutions etc

3. Social Infrastructure: This comprises the provision of an effective healthcare system that includes primary, secondary and tertiary care and an educational system that promote universal education ranging from primary to vocational and higher learning.

4. Cultural, Sports and Recreational Infrastructure: This includes sports and recreational facilities such as parks, sports facilities, cultural centers, museums and libraries, theatres and studios to make our athletes globally competitive and our cultural fares world class.

A tall order? Yes, but necessary!

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7 Comments

  1. Raymond Stenhouse on

    ……and what about the Manila floods how many times does it have to flood before the Government does something. How many projects have been deferred because of blatant corruption. So still the people of Manila suffer under a collapse infrastructure.

  2. Its seem you fail to mentioned the IT infrastructure which is one of the most important use of our daily lives. I’m not a fan of our Ex. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo but she is more knowledgeable in terms of managerial skills but tainted with corruption. Our President should take a look of all the previous administration project plan that are more logical that what they are doing now. Example ZTE deal maybe try to study it again and asked DOST to do it or asked private intities to do it for them. The excavation works for Laguna De Bay thru Belgian Contractor which one of the Flood Control project that was stopped by this administration (we are just making the lawyer richer) we should just renegotiate instead and change the terms of reference to make it appealling to all parties concern.

  3. so golden king you want to see private public partnership, i think you mean a little like how the lrt & mrt are run. What a shambles that is, its taken them 11 years to recognise they needed to have re invested in it each year from 11 years ago. These guys are a laughing stock, but i think i know why. Always when i listen to filipino conversation, they talk around issues without any substance. They talk about it but dont do it. They think about it but never get a conclusion.
    I had a fiscal said to me once i assume you have properties in the uk, i said you assume, you cant assume you either know or you dont know, assumption doesnt come into it.
    I hope that analagy helps you work out things need to change in this country in a huge way & that takes time, much time & its something in many issues the philippines doesnt have. Im a foreigner & i live here so i want things to improve as much as you do, probably more than you as ive lived in a country where things are mostly done right. The better it is done the better for all of us.

  4. Its so simple why the country is in the state its in. Its successive governments, all have been there for themselves & not the country. They look on the taxes you pay as their perks. For them more than for you. Before pnoy came in you had this wang wang system where every politician had a driver & that driver had a police escort & never had to sit in traffic. So now how do you expect him to care about you struggleing when he doesnt have to struggle. Then not a single politician commutes to work each day. If they did they would have improved both the roads & the public transportantion system. Its very easy, just look at how other countries have overcome big traffic congestion & do the same.
    Next the electricity, well what a shambles that is. They have known this crisis is coming & they have known what year it will hit, but what have they done, not a single thing. Doesnt that tell you the incompetence of all these politicians & officials. Forget your nuclear power plant, just get rid of it as that will give you more problems than anything. Youve seen pinoys couldnt organise a booze up in a brewery so imagine those same incompetent people running nuclear power. It scares the living daylights out of me.
    I dont know how this country will sort anything out & its not going to happen anytime soon. Youve seen the useless way they try to curb traffic. I think if these officials had a brain they would be dangerous.

  5. I believe that you may be listed as an enemy in the BS Aquino government. If you were not before, you will be now. It is a shame because you have laid out a good list of things to be addressed. The government needs input to overcome the inaction and incompetence they demonstrate. They need all the help they can get. Of course anything suggested, they regard as a slap in the face.

  6. Kapag demonyo ang mga nagpapatakbo sa gobyerno at naglipana ang mga linta na cronies at kapag May kulay ang mga nagplaplano sa gobyerno,lahat ng magaganda at mabuting idea ay hindi magagawa dahil sa mga interest na mga buhaya ng pipigil nito,
    Kapag May puso na ang pagulo. Ang uupo at mapapatakbo ng gobyerno baka May pag asa,
    Sabi nga ng Gilas, puso,puso hindi lang utak!!

  7. The only way to push a clean debt ridden graft sources of Big Infrastractures, let the Government identify the needed plans to organize a well transit mass based system but give to Private public partnership. Which is graft free from any form of corrupt politician. Sucking the blood of our economy, and destroying Infrastractures, by making 2nd.class projects or second hand materials not to stand strong quakes. The President is deaf and mute by giving his allies benefits of the doubt, but instead he should be looking for the nations welfare rather than his allies. God loves truth, nothing but the truth.