Gov’t sets aside P1.12T for 2021 infra spending
The government has slightly jacked up the programmed spending for infrastructure to P785.5 billion this year as the World Bank noted that the quality of road, power and water infrastructure in the Philippines lagged behind those of its neighbors.
The Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) last July 28 approved via ad referendum a 2020 public infrastructure program equivalent to 4.2 percent of nominal gross domestic product (GDP), which is estimated to reach P18.9 trillion by yearend.
The new program is higher than the P775.1 billion programmed by the DBCC in May, but lower than actual expenditures on infrastructure last year amounting to P1.05 trillion.
For 2021, P1.12 trillion or 5.4 percent of GDP will be set aside for the infrastructure program —including disbursements for national government infrastructure, infrastructure subsidy and equity to state-run corporations as well as transfers to local government units for their infrastructure projects, which the Department of Budget and Management said included payables from the current year’s budget and prior years’ obligations.
However, the updated 2021 infrastructure program is below the indicative amount of P1.18 trillion last May.
In a report, the Washington-based World Bank said that in the Philippines, road-quality surveys showed that the quality of road infrastructure was perceived as very poor.
“Manila, in particular, is challenged by heavy congestion. Although surface conditions have improved, more than one in four roads has a poor surface condition, largely attributable to underinvestment and lack of maintenance, especially in rural areas,” according to the World Bank report titled “Infrastructure in Asia and the Pacific: Road Transport, Electricity, and Water and Sanitation Services in East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific Islands.”
The report is the World Bank’s first comprehensive stock-taking of infrastructure quality, supply levels as well as services affordability in the region.
As for electricity, the World Bank said that “although access is widespread and losses are low, energy consumption per capita is also very low” in the Philippines.
“This implies that generation capacity is inadequate to meet rapidly increasing demand,” the World Bank noted, even as “access in rural areas increased significantly in 2016 due to the government’s strategic rural-electrification program.”
Citing 2009 quality data from 25 utilities in the International Benchmarking Network for Water and Sanitation Utilities database, the World Bank said that there was “reasonable coverage (38 percent of the urban population) across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.”
“Overall, however, the country has limited access to water and sanitation, compared to regional averages. Moreover, the quality of water supplied and the levels of wastewater treatment are very poor,” the World Bank said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.