Saturday, May 6, 2017

Poorest regions take in P157-B infrastructure projects

Thousands of infrastructure projects collectively valued at P157.44 billion will be rolled out in the country’s poorest region under the reinstated Three-Year Rolling Infrastructure Plan (TRIP) for 2018 to 2020, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said yesterday.

The region-specific projects totaling 1,313 will be rolled out in the five regions that have the highest poverty rates: the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Caraga (Region XIII), Eastern Visayas (Region VIII), Soccskargen (Region XII) and Northern Mindanao (Region X).

“This is in line with the country’s National Spatial Strategy in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. We want to set the country’s direction of future growth to one that strongly involves the regions and maximize this connectivity of sustainable urban and rural communities,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA director general Ernesto Pernia.

Among the five regions, ARMM, which has the highest poverty rate of 48.2 percent, will have 995 projects worth P50.71 billion under the three year programming for infra spending.

Slated for implementation in the Caraga Region, meanwhile are 66 infrastructure projects amounting to P28.81 billion, Eastern Visayas (Region VIII) will have 147 infrastructure projects with an aggregate value of P19.8 billion, Soccsksargen (Region XII) will have 28 projects amounting to P 7.8 billion, while Northern Mindanao (Region X) will have 117 projects valued at P50.32 billion.

“These areas are also expected to benefit from the inter-regional and nationwide infrastructure that will form an efficient network of engines of economic growth all over the country,” said Pernia.
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The rolling infrastructure program would guarantee funding for projects that need to be implemented immediately. It would also ensure the hard budget ceilings of government agencies are optimized in funding infrastructure projects that conform to the priorities of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

It also places greater emphasis on projects that can be completed within the funding period.

The program would also ensure the government’s target for increased public infrastructure is met as funding is assured once an infra program has been rolled out.

It also aims to strengthen the links between planning, programming and budgeting, and help attain the indicative public infrastructure spending targets for the medium term.

Currently proposed for coverage under the TRIP from 2018 to 2020 are 4,895 projects worth P3.6 trillion. For 2018, funding of P1.13 trillion would be allocated for projects under TRIP; for 2019, P1.18 trillion; and for 2020, P1.29 trillion. Out of the total number of these priority projects, some 4,498 are region-specific (P935.55 billion), 158 are inter-regional (P1.848 trillion), and 239 are nationwide in scale (P824.47 billion).

By sector, these cover infrastructure projects for transportation, water resources, sewerage and sanitation, flood management, solid waste management, maritime, social infrastructure, energy, ICT and others.
In terms of funding, 3,334 of the total number of projects proposed under TRIP will be locally funded; 70 will be financed through official development assistance (ODA); 33 will be supported by public-private partnerships (PPPs); and 1,341 will be backed by other modes. For 117 projects, the mode of funding has yet to be determined.

For the region-specific projects, 2,857 infrastructure projects amounting to P524.48 billion will be built in areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR), compared with 293 projects amounting to P180.37 billion to be built in NCR.

“This shows how serious this administration is in jumpstarting growth in the regions and in addressing spatial and socioeconomic inequalities by linking lagging regions with leading ones,” said Pernia.

This will also help develop the regional and sub-regional centers, and decongest Metro Manila.

Pernia said the long pipeline of infrastructure projects can enhance prospects for job generation, help in increasing household consumption, stimulate business-related activities in the areas and, in the long run, reduce poverty incidence.

In an earlier forum, Pernia said the Duterte administration’s massive infrastructure build-up has the potential to create 1.6 million jobs annually until the end of the President’s term.  This is based on the assumption the current spending on infrastructure of 5.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year will be gradually increased to 7.4 percent of GDP by 2022.

In a related development, the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC)-Cabinet Committee and the NEDA Infrastructure Committee have approved the updated list of 75 infrastructure flagship projects.

Still to be refined in scope by the ICC, however are the following projects: Mindoro-Batangas Super Bridge, Camarines-Catanduanes Friendship Bridge, Ipo Dam No. 3, Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project, Nationwide Fish Ports Project (Package III), and the Agus 3 Hydroelectric Plant.

Some of these projects are candidates for ODA financing by China.

The other projects may be financed by loans from multilateral development banks, general appropriations, and public-private partnership.

Most of these so-called flagship projects are connective infrastructure that will spur growth and development in the countryside.


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