February 24, 2018, 10:16 pm
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Build. Build. Build.

THE DUTERTE administration is expected to launch big ticket infrastructure projects to drive economic growth in the next five years.

Build, build, and build. Under this mantra several government agencies are partnering to implement major projects involving railways, bridges, roads, airports and green city developments.

Manila-Clark Railway, a major project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) when completed would guarantee one hour travel from Metro Manila to Clark International Airport. The other DOTr projects are Metro Manila Bus Rapid Train System, regional airport and Roll-on/Roll-off development projects

The Mindanao Railway which is targeted to start construction this year would mean a two-hour travel time from Davao to Surigao and Cagayan de Oro (CDO). The railway system would connect major cities such as CDO, Iligan, Zamboanga, Butuan, Surigao, Davao, and General Santos.

Projects under Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) include the Clark Green City, Clark International Airport new terminal building, Bonifacio Global City (BGC) to NAIA Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and Subic-Clark Cargo Railway project. The railway project is seen as a long term solution to highly congested traffic in Metro Manila by providing a more viable option (than trucks) for moving goods into and from the capital.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects which aim to address traffic and flooding include Santa Monica-Lawton- BGC linkbridge; UP-Miriam-Ateneo Viaduct; NLEX-SLEX connector road; Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros-Cebu link bridge and Davao City bypass construction project. 

These projects are expected to be completed in the next three to five years.

Infrastructure spending reached 5.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year higher compared to five previous administrations.  The Marcos government spent 3.2 percent, Corazon Aquino, Ramos and Estrada spent 2.2 percent, Arroyo 1.9 percent and Aquino administration spent 2.9 percent.

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), a sustained increase in public infrastructure spending to 5 percent of GDP would add a total of 5 to 6 percent growth to GDP after 15 years.

Aside from these projects, NEDA has cited several projects worth P200 billion have been lined-up for approval including North and South railway up to Bicol and the Cebu Port. Three other projects are in agriculture. 

Public Private Partnership (PPP)

Eleven major infrastructure projects under the PPP which were carried over from the previous administration are expected to be completed and be operational before the end of Duterte administration.

Conglomerates San Miguel Corp, Megawide Construction Corp. and Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) and Ayala Corp. projects under construction and pre-constructions stage are expected to be finished in the next three to five years .

Construction of SMC’s Metro Manila Skyway (MMS) Stage 3 and MRT Line 7 project is ongoing.

The MRT 7 is a 22 kilometers elevated railway which will have 14 stations from Edsa (connected to MRT 3) to San del Monte, Bulacan. It is  expected to be finished by 2020.

The MMS or Skyway Stage 3 is 14.82 km., six-lane elevated expressway from Buendia to Balintawak that will link the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to NLEX was 19 percent completed as of November last year.

Megawide Construction Corp.’s three projects which include Southwest Terminal of the Integrated Transport System, Mactan Cebu International Airport and PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP) are under construction .

Southwest Terminal of the Integrated Transport System (ITS), started in the fourth quarter last year has been targeted for completion by 2018 .

As of October last year, PPP Center said the MCIA passenger terminal is 35.19 percent completed and expected to be completed in the next three years.

The MPIC Group also has three major projects in the pipeline—LRT 1 extension to Cavite,  Cavite-Laguna Expressway and NLEX-SLEX connector road .

MPIC said Calax construction will start in the first half of this year, while the NLEX-SLEX connector road is expected to begin construction this year if the government would be able to turn-over the right of way for the phase 1.

Light Rail Manila Corp., a consortium of MPIC and Ayala which operates LRT1, said that construction of the LRT extension to Cavite will start in the second quarter.

The Duterte administration is keen on continuing the bidding on PPP projects left by the previous administration.

Last week, DOTr has started the bidding of five unbundled regional airports namely, Bacolod-Silay airport for P 20.26 billion, Davao airport worth P 40.57 billion, New Iloilo airport for P 30.40 billion, Laguindingan for P 14.62 billion, and New Bohol (Panglao)  worth P 4.57 billion .

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Development project budgeted at P 74.56 billion was approved by NEDA last September and is expected to be bid out this year. Several conglomerates have already expressed interest. 

For the project, the private partner will improve, upgrade and enhance the operational efficiencies of all existing terminals of the NAIA covering both landside and airside, except air traffic services.

Other projects still lined up for bidding include Light Rail Transit (LRT 2) operation and maintenance, regional prison facilities, LRT Line 6 rail extension to Dasmarinas Cavite, Road Transport Information Technology Infrastructure among others.

The DPWH’s P 122.8 Billion Laguna Lakeshore project is expected to go back to the conceptualization stage. The agency is considering revising the bid term and securing a new NEDA approval after last year’s failed bidding.

As of December last year, four projects worth P 31.77 billion have been completed and are operational. These include Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway, PPP for School Infrastructure project, Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS), and NAIA Expressway Phase II.

Telecommunications

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has submitted a proposal to President Duterte to build a national broadband infrastructure using the fiber-optic cable network of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) with the goal of delivering fast internet to unserved and underserved areas in the country 

DICT is optimistic about implementing the project in three years using the privately-owned NGCP’s  5,000 to 10,000 fiber optic cable running from North to South. This could allow the government to deploy broadband internet in the government agencies in the countryside.

A  National broadband plan, which would ideally address the issues of high cost and slow internet connections, would be submitted for approval.

DICT is looking at partnerships with private sector to help finance the project rollout .

The project is estimated to cost from P 77 billion to P 200 billion if the NGCP would allow the government the use of the land and fiber network to deliver broadband. This cost would be higher if the government would build its own infrastructure. 
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