By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan

P326-B infrastructure projects start this year

Posted on March 17, 2017

THE FINANCE department said groundbreaking is expected this year on three railway projects outside Metro Manila, as well as new public transport lines along the main Metro Manila artery, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA).

Groundbreaking is expected this year on three railway projects outside Metro Manila, as well as new public transport lines along the main Metro Manila artery, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). -- BW FILE PHOTO
Among those to start construction this year are the Clark-Subic rail line, the Tutuban-Clark rail line, the 581-kilometer South Line of the North-South Railway Project connecting Tutuban, Calamba, Batangas and Bicol, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a speech in Makati City on Wednesday.

According to an earlier report from the Finance department, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) will be the implementing agency of the rail projects, with funding to be a combination of Official Development Assistance, public-private partnership concessions, and government funds.

The Finance Secretary also said that projects at Clark International Airport, the Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit traversing EDSA, and three bridges across the Pasig river will commence construction this year.

Moreover, Mr. Dominguez added: “We are also closely working with our Chinese partners to finally start the construction of the Kaliwa Dam and Chico River Dam this year.”

The projects are worth a combined P326 billion, according to Mr. Dominguez.

Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang is set to meet with cabinet officials in the Philippines this week, to firm up previous commitments made by President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his Beijing visit in October.

This was the third meeting on the infrastructure projects, following Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan’s visit to Manila in early March, to meet with the country’s economic managers and infrastructure officials.

Mr. Dominguez said that the government recognizes the urgency of implementing infrastructure projects, and avoiding delays in procurement processes.

“When I said we will start these projects, we do not mean just bidding out projects, signing contracts, or attending opening ceremonies. In this administration, ‘start’ means groundbreaking and actual construction. We will no longer tolerate the wishy-washy promises that implementing agencies have been accustomed to making in the past,” said Mr. Dominguez.

“This is a long list because we have a lot of catching up to do with our neighbors. But you can count on this administration to be aggressive in building infrastructure,” he added.

Moreover, Mr. Dominguez also mapped out infrastructure projects that will be constructed in the next year.

“After 2017, President Duterte’s administration will start the construction of long span bridges between Bicol and Samar, between Leyte and Surigao and finally make land travel between Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao possible,” he said.

Mr. Dominguez also said that the 2000-kilometer Mindanao railway -- which will connect its large cities -- may start construction next year, as well as more bridges crossing the Pasig river, and the development of Clark Green City.

He said that the infrastructure buildup will attract more foreign investment, as well as boost productivity.

“Over the next few years, we anticipate substantial investments inflows. This is helped, to a significant extent, by commitments made both by Japan and China to assist us especially in large infra projects. Expect a palpable uptick in business activity over the next few months,” he said.