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ADB exec: PH doing well in infra buildup

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:35 AM June 14, 2019

The Philippines is moving in the right direction to reverse its infrastructure lack through the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program, according to an official of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The US government, for its part, is also looking at more infrastructure investments in the Philippines and in the bigger Asean region in partnership with the private sector and multilateral lenders such as the ADB.

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ADB economic research and regional cooperation department director Rana Hasan told a reporting boot camp for Asean journalists Thursday the country’s banner infrastructure program was “the right way to go” after years of letdown.

Under “Build, Build, Build,” the government would roll out 75 projects amounting to about P2.18 trillion. Economic managers expect half of these to be completed during President Duterte’s term.

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Data from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) as of end-April showed 46 of the Build, Build, Build projects worth a combined P1.56 trillion were already in the implementation stage.

Twenty-four big-ticket projects amounting to P527.98 billion are currently under development, while five projects worth P84.29 billion are up for review, according to Neda.

Hasan stressed infrastructure development would lead to better delivery of poverty reduction efforts as it also helps promote trade and investments.

Lynne Gadkowski, counsellor for economic affairs at the US Embassy in Manila, said Asean would continue to enjoy American infrastructure investments as “[US] administrations come and go, but the prioritization of this region is incredibly important to the United States” under its US Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Gadkowski pointed to Asean’s economic growth, the opportunities it presented and the demographic sweet spot in the region as the reasons for the United States’ bullish view.

Between 2007 and 2017, the United States already invested $119 billion on infrastructure in Asean, Gadkowski said.

The United States is interested in partnering with the private sector and multilateral lenders to support projects here.

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The Asia-Pacific region needs $1.7 trillion yearly to narrow its infrastructure gap.

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TAGS: Asian Development Bank (ADB), Build Build Build program, Infrastructure
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