Government ushers in ‘golden age of infrastructure’ with 64 major projects

A total of 64 big-ticket projects, ranging from major road networks, railway systems and bus rapid-transit (BRT) systems to airport and seaport modernization, are either for implementation or in the pipeline as part of the Duterte administration’s envisioned “golden age of infrastructure.”

Another 15 ongoing projects are being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that are either locally funded with Official Development Assistance (ODA)  or through public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

These ongoing projects include the Mandaluyong Main Drainage Project (Phase 2); Central Luzon Link Expressway, Phase 1, Tarlac-Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija; Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Measures in the Low Lying Areas of Pampanga Bay; Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (Binalonan-Rosario Section), Flood Risk Management Project  in Cagayan de Oro River and the Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue-Paseo de Roxas/Makati Avenue Vehicle Underpass Project.

The 64 projects for implementation or in the pipeline are broken down as follows: 20 involving road construction and improvements, two involving bridge construction and reinforcements, four flood-control projects, two dams, one road-transport information-technology infrastructure project, 23 involving rail systems, seven airport-development projects, two transport terminals and three bus rapid-transit systems.

Besides its current projects, the DPWH is also set to either oversee or implement 10 infra projects in Metro Manila and Mindanao.

These are the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road Project; UP-Miriam-Ateneo Viaduct along C-5/ Katipunan; Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project (Guadalupe Bridge and Lambingan Bridge; Widening/Improvement of Gen. Luis Street-Kaybiga-Polo-Novaliches; Cavite-Laguna Expressway; Nlex-Slex Connector Road; Metro Manila Interchange Construction Project 6; Davao City By-Pass Construction Project (South Section (Road) and Center Section (Tunnel); Panguil Bay Bridge; and Phase 1 of the Metro Manila Flood Management Project.

Budget

According to Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar, all these projects will significantly boost growth and raise productivity and competitiveness.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) projects the national government to raise the infrastructure budget from P552 billion to P1.470 trillion by 2022, or from 3.5 percent to 5.7 percent of the GDP.

In the same period, the total infrastructure budget—both national and local—is projected to grow from P861 billion in 2017 to P1.832 trillion by 2022, or from 5.4 percent to 7.1 percent of GDP.

“The significant increase in the infrastructure budget will be used to fund ongoing and proposed major infrastructure projects, which are vital for sustaining high and inclusive growth,” Villar said.

Projects

The Department of Transportation (DOTr), on the other hand, has awarded six PPP projects, and is either bidding out or about to bid out 10 PPP projects, according to Transportation  Secretary Arthur P. Tugade.

The awarded PPP projects are the Integrated Transport System (ITS) Project: South Terminal; ITS Project: Southwest Terminal; Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension and Operations and Maintenance; Contactless Automatic Fare Collection System; Mactan Cebu International Airport Project; and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 7.

PPP projects that are either undergoing or about to undergo bidding are the Development, Operations and Maintenance of Bacolod-Silay, Davao, Iloilo, Laguindingan and New Bohol (Panglao) Airports; LRT Line 2 Operations and Maintenance; Road Transport Information Technology Infrastructure (Phase 2); LRT Line 6; Philippine National Railways (PNR)-South Line (previously, the North-South Railway Project-South Line); and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) development.

The DOTr, through a combination of ODA and PPP, is implementing and developing a total of 23 rail projects, which will greatly expand the country’s rail system from the current 77 kilometers to over 1,750 km.

The 10 ongoing rail projects include the following: PNR North (Manila-Malolos); PNR South Commuter PPP Project (Manila-Los Baños); PNR South Long Haul PPP Project (Los Baños-Legaspi,Matnog,Batangas Port); Line 1 Cavite Extension PPP Project (Baclaran-Niog); Automated Fare Collection System PPP Project (Beep Card);  Line 2 O&M PPP Project; Line 2 East Extension (Santolan-Masinag); Line 2 West Extension (Recto-Pier 4);  Line 6 PPP Project (Niog-Dasmariñas); Line 7 PPP Project (San Jose del Monte-North Edsa).

Another 13 rail projects are being developed by the DOTr.

These include the following: Mindanao Railway (Circumferential); Cebu Railway (five lines); Panay Railway; Line 4 (Taytay-Manila) PPP Project; Line 5 (Pasay-Makati-Taguig) PPP Project; Line 8 (Quezon City-Manila) PPP Project; PNR North Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark); Mega Manila Subway Project and  Subic-Clark Railway.

BRTs

Aside from extensive rail development, the DOTr is also implementing at least three BRT  systems, establishing 77 km of segregated bus ways and improving pedestrian and bikeway facilities.

These include the Cebu BRT, the Quezon Avenue BRT  and the Central Corridor (Edsa) BRT. Several other BRT systems and corridors are also currently being studied by the DOTr.

Alongside these projects, there are 12 other DPWH projects in the pipeline.

These include the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Link Project; Edsa-Taft Flyover; Central Luzon Link Expressway, Phase 2, Cabanatuan-San Jose, Nueva Ecija; Flood Protection Works in the Marikina River, including Retarding Basin; and the Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project.

Another six big-ticket projects funded through PPPs are also either being proposed by the DPWH or already in the pipeline.

These include the R-7 Expressway; Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control, Coastal Defense and Expressway; and the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike.

Budget  Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the incremental revenues that would be raised from the first package of the Department of Finance-proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) amounting to some P163 billion in 2018 is consistent with the planned increase in the budget deficit, from 2.7 percent of GDP in 2016 to 3 percent of GDP beginning 2017.