Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno revealed the government’s plans of a seven-percent increase in infrastructure spending under the Duterte administration in the next six years.
During the general membership meeting of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex), budget chief Diokno announced that the government is planning to spend almost PhP900 billion specifically on hard public infrastructure in 2017.
However, he set the public expectations, emphasizing that the budget boost does not guarantee a quick solution to the country’s lack of infrastructure and might take more than a decade to be fully realized.
The budget chief also encouraged more active public-private partnership (PPP) projects for more immediate output in infrastructure development.
This “hybrid” PPP setup that the budget department is proposing will organize a partnership where the government will build the facility in which the private firm will be assigned for maintenance.
The move is possible through a national rollout which he described as “simultaneously, not sequentially”, various developments in all regions including small to large projects.
The administration, said Diokno, will order a 24-hour-a-day, all days of the week non-stop construction and development work especially on urban-based projects to deliver double results.
Diokno is confident that a share of 5.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 will jack up infrastructure spending by the end of Duterte’s term.
He also expressed priority to three to four railway lines in Metro Manila to solve everyday commuter problems in the metro, as well as additional airports to be developed.
During the meeting, Diokno also revealed that the president himself suggested a highway connectiong Clark and Makati city, perhaps a part of the decision to possibly build a new air transport hub in Clark, Pampanga.
In order to achieve a lower cost in these projects, they will seek the help of donor agencies through the official development assistance (ODA) while tapping private contractors.
Once the projects have been completed, the government will then bid out the maintenance contract, admitting that, “the government is poor in maintenance, so we should give it to the private sector”.