Infra projects to create 1.6M more new jobs this year–Villar | Inquirer Business
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Infra projects to create 1.6M more new jobs this year–Villar

With ‘Build, Build, Build,’ public infrastructure spending doubled to 5% of GDP
By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:22 AM June 24, 2021

The big-ticket infrastructure projects currently rolled out by the government will create an additional 1.6 million jobs this year, President Duterte’s infrastructure managers said on Wednesday.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar told the Asia Infrastructure Forum 2021 the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program had so far created 6.5 million jobs as public infrastructure spending was doubled to 5 percent of gross domestic product from an average of 2 percent during previous administrations.

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In a separate forum, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the government would continue to spend more on infrastructure, having programmed more than P1 trillion in expenditures for the next couple of years.

Villar said the implementation of “Build, Build, Build,” especially the 112 flagship projects, would be “critical” in the economy’s recovery from the pandemic-induced recession.

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Chua, who heads state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), said sustained infrastructure development formed part of the P2-trillion recovery program.

With threats from the deadly COVID-19 virus still lingering, Villar said ongoing projects adhered to health and safety protocols like wearing of personal protective equipment, social distancing, testing and medical support, plus daily monitoring of construction workers.

As the pandemic also put pressure on the government’s limited financial resources which were being reprioritized to COVID-19 response, Villar said some infrastructure projects deemed not among the government’s priorities had been set aside to keep fiscal prudence.

Foreign loans plus the deep pockets of the country’s tycoons will finance the majority of the 112 flagship projects worth P4.7 trillion under President Duterte’s ambitious infrastructure program.

The updated list of infrastructure flagship projects in the “Build, Build, Build” pipeline released by Neda on Saturday showed that 54 big-ticket projects amounting to P2.6 trillion would be financed by official development assistance (ODA). These included loans and grants extended by multilateral lenders such as the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the World Bank, as well as bilateral development partners like China, Japan and South Korea.

Twenty were unsolicited public-private partnership (PPP) projects worth P1.5 trillion. These projects will be subjected to a Swiss challenge before proponents could proceed with project implementation, unless a challenger would offer a better deal.

The biggest project in the latest list approved by the Neda Board on May 12 is an unsolicited PPP — the P735.7-billion New Manila International Airport which conglomerate San Miguel Corp. will build in Bulacan. The project is expected to be completed during the term of the next administration.

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Three other projects worth P95.8 billion were solicited PPP projects. Seven projects were a mix of PPP and other modes of financing — five PPPs with supplemental toll operation agreement or STOA (P148.4 billion); one PPP with ODA financing (P64.9 billion); and one PPP with financing from the national budget (P26.6 billion).

Two projects worth P20.1 billion which were included in the government’s flagship list would be fully financed and implemented by the private sector.

One project worth P28.3 billion will be funded by a mix of ODA and the national budget.

The remaining 25 projects worth P186.2 billion will be covered by the government’s yearly budget.

In terms of sectors, transport and mobility led the pack with 76 flagship projects amounting to P4.3 trillion; followed by 12 urban development projects (P156.4 billion); 10 in water resources (P106 billion); eight in information and communications technology or ICT (P84.9 billion); four in health (P46.4 billion), and two in power and energy (P20.1 billion).

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