Neda exec: 18 infra flagship projects finished by June 2022

The Duterte administration will complete 18 of its 112 flagship projects by the time the President’s term ends in June 2022, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

In a presentation at the virtual Arangkada Philippines Forum on Wednesday, Neda OIC-Undersecretary for Investment Programming Jonathan L. Uy said 94 other projects are expected to be completed after Duterte steps down from the Palace.

Uy said these projects are composed of nine projects that will be completed by December 2022 and 85 that will be completed by 2023 and onward. To date, he said, the government has completed six projects; 79 are ongoing; and 27 are either pending approval or under project preparation.

“Let me just say that while reforms are initiated and several key infrastructure projects are under way, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on our economy and the infrastructure sector has taken a big hit,” Uy said.

“It is clear that the balance between spending on the pandemic as well as trying to meet all the average expenditures, in particular infrastructure, are now coming into well defined discussions and very strong positions particularly from different sectors. That is the main critical concern that the national government is facing right now, at least for 2022,” he explained.

Based on the data, 55 projects broke ground as of 2020 and 21 in 2021. It is expected that 29 will break ground next year and seven projects in 2023 and beyond.

The 18 projects that will be completed will amount to P235.88 billion. Of this, 14 projects that include the six that have already been completed amount to P116.11 billion and four projects that will be completed in January to June will amount to P119.77 billion.

The 94 projects that will be completed after the Duterte administration are worth about P4.45 trillion. This is composed of nine projects worth P151.94 billion to be completed between July and December and 85 projects worth P4.299 trillion in 2023 and beyond.

However, Uy said the government expects to start increasing infrastructure spending and get back on track on its targets. As a percentage of GDP, Uy said infrastructure spending is expected to increase to 5.8 percent of GDP in 2022 from 4.8 percent of GDP in 2020.

“We are looking at 5.8 percent disbursements as a percent of GDP for the public sector in 2022. But, at the rate that we are going, we still [are] coping with the pandemic in terms of this target. So the target may be expected to be about 4.5 [of GDP]. This is the main concern at this point with regard to the disbursements and the targeting,” Uy said.

Uy hoped that the next administration would continue all the projects that are already in the pipeline. This, he said, is the reason for the many projects that were identified for the Build, Build, Build program.

In another presentation on Wednesday, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Railways Timothy Batan shared that railway projects identified in the 1999 Metro Manila Urban Transportation Integration Study and 2014 Roadmap for Transport Infra Development for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas as well as the 2017 Follow-up Survey on Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Greater Capital Region are all ongoing, except for only four.

The four projects that are still under project development are the Line 2 Southeast Extension in Taytay; Line 2 Southeast Extension in Binangonan; the Line 3 Northeast Extension in Navotas; and the Line 1 North Extension in Malabon.

Some of the projects that are already ongoing are LRT Line 1 South Extension in Imus and Dasmariñas in Cavite; MRT Line 7; MRT 4 from  Recto to Batasan, Phase 2 in Novaliches, and Branch Line in San Mateo; and the Mega Manila Subway, among others.

“It is to the credit of this administration that regardless of when the project has been started, there has been continuity in the effort. And this is actually what we would like to see in the coming administration to continue the effort that we have already put forward in the flagship program,” Uy said.

In his last State of the Nation Address, the President instructed key agencies to fast-track the completion of the Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) and ensure that these are completed during his term.

These agencies are the Department of Public Works and Highways, DOTr, Neda, Department of Finance, and Department of Budget and Management.

The President, however, said the administration has already accomplished much in its ambitious infrastructure initiative.

For one, the President said, the administration was able to address the breakdowns and unloading of passengers at midrail by the MRT-3.

He added that the administration has also completed the LRT-2 East Extension Project; opened Stage 3 of the Metro Manila Skyway; and inaugurated the Kalayaan Bridge, which is part of the BGC-Ortigas Center Link Project.

The President noted that the administration ensured that areas outside of Metro Manila would also receive much-needed infrastructure projects that would boost growth and development in these areas.

Some of these projects included the newly-built passenger terminal building of the Clark International Airport; the Poro Point Freeport Zone Road in La Union; Junction Lanao-Pagadian-Zamboanga City Road; Sorsogon City Coastal By-Pass Road; and the Davao City Coastal Road.

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