THE GOVERNMENT expects a pickup in infrastructure activity this year, with 15 big-ticket projects already in the pre-construction stage, the Finance department said.

This adds to the 44 projects already in the works as of January.

“[About] 60 projects are under construction and pre-construction so most of these will start getting implemented this year, that’s P1.8 trillion based on project cost,” Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran told reporters on Thursday.

“The Build, Build, Build policy will go into high gear,” he added.

Among those in pre-construction include the P355.6-billion Mega-Manila Subway project, the P285-billion North-South Commuter Railway, the P211.46-billion Malolos-Clark Railway, and the P134-billion Philippine National Railway South Commuter Line, according to the list provided by Mr. Beltran.

It also includes the P51.7-billion Visayas-Mindanao grid interconnection, P37.76-billion Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit EDSA line, the P35.26-billion Mindanao Railway Phase 1, and the P25-billion Metro Manila Flood Management project.

Completing the list are the P12-billion C5 South Link Expressway, the P11.37-billion construction of 30 bridges across the archipelago, the P5.47-billion Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit España-Quezon Avenue Line, the P4.36-billion Arterial Road Bypass, the P4.61-billion Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, the P1.38-billion Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, and the P1.16-billion partial rehabilitation of Marawi City.

“You know it’s coming together believe it or not. Even I am surprised. The money is coming in from our taxes, the loans are coming in… the implementing agencies are getting their act together. It’s coming together,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said.

Of the 15, eight will be funded by ODA (official development assistance), three from multilateral lenders, three directly from the government’s purse, and one public-private partnership.

The Duterte administration shifted its approach to funding projects with ODA and budget funds, in order to fast-track the implementation process. It will also construct projects on a 24/7 basis.

The government aims to spend P8.4 trillion in infrastructure until 2022 to boost economic growth to 7-8% starting this year. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan