THE construction of 44 flagship projects worth a total of P2.4 trillion will start in six to eight months, bolstering the expectations of the economic team that infrastructure spending will drive growth this year.
Apart from the projects that will begin construction this year, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said 34 projects worth P631.69 billion are currently ongoing.
“Coordination continues, it’s all about government agencies working together, implementing agencies, primarily Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation working with other agencies especially for relocation and resettlement which is really NHA,” BCDA President and CEO Vivencio B. Dizon told reporters on Monday.
The BCDA, in its presentation at the House of Representatives (HOR), said that 22 projects worth P666.39 billion are already in the advanced stages of government approval and feasibility studies.
This is composed of 15 projects worth P479 billion, undergoing advanced stages of government approval; and seven projects worth P187.39 billion in advanced stages of feasibility studies.
Dizon said the Duterte administration intends to complete 56 of the 100 flagship projects worth P1.17 trillion this year until 2022. This is composed of 13 projects worth P131.83 billion to be completed this year; 16 projects worth P230.86 billion up for completion next year; and 27 projects worth P803.82 billion in 2022.
“The annual budgetary requirements of the flagship projects shall be firmed up by the implementing agencies as next steps,” Dizon noted in his presentation.
With the 100 flagship projects, Dizon said the Duterte administration raised the average annual spending of the government for infrastructure projects to 6 percent of GDP or P1.04 trillion between 2017 and 2018.
This is the highest compared to the previous four administrations. The Ramos administration spent the least at 1.7 percent of GDP or P3.9 billion annually between 1993 and 1998.
BCDA data obtained from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed the Estrada administration spent 1.8 percent of GDP or P60.1 billion annually between 1999 and 2000.
The Arroyo administration spent 1.6 percent of GDP or P100.3 billion annually between 2001 and 2010 while the Aquino administration spent 3 percent of GDP worth P380 billion annually between 2011 and 2016.
Meanwhile, the BCDA said the Duterte administration has completed 10 flagship projects such as the NLEX Harbor Link; Governor Miranda Bridge connecting Davao City and Tagum; and Laguna Lake Highway which serves as an alternative to Edsa and C-5 Road.
The list includes the Pigalo bridge in Isabela; TPLEx-Pozorrubio which reduced travel time between Tarlac City and Rosario, La Union; Bohol-Panglao International Airport which can accommodate 2 million passengers annually; and the Cagayan de Oro Port
Passenger Terminal Building, the country’s biggest port to date.
BCDA also reported the completed projects included the Cavite Gateway Terminal which is the country’’s first barge terminal; Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management System which minimizes flight delays and improves overall travel experience; and New Clark City Phase 1A, which is part of the new metropolis the country is building.
BCDA explained that the criteria for inclusion in the Flagship program includes urgency, which addresses a current problem or concern.
Projects in the flagship program also have national or regional significance and benefits more people in a wider area and has a game-changing nature in terms of the impact on people’s lives and the conduct of business in the country.
Last week, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters the economy still had a “fighting chance” to ensure that growth will still be around 6 percent in the January to March period.
Pernia said apart from domestic tourism, infrastructure will also play a key role in boosting economic growth, thanks to the recent approval and signing of the 2020 national budget. He said many projects are taking off the ground, and government spending will increase. Pernia said the government has already approved 72 of the 100 flagship projects.
This means, Pernia said, there are only about 25 projects remaining projects that need approval. Other projects, he said, do not require Neda Board approval.