THE revised flagship infrastructure program will likely contain more projects after it is reviewed by economic managers when the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) and Committee on Infrastructure (INFRACOM) meet jointly Wednesday.
On the sidelines of the NEDA news conference in Pasig City yesterday, NEDA Undersecretary Jonathan L. Uy said that the list will come under “further scrutiny” from economic managers and could even be taken up to Cabinet level if needed.
“I’m expecting further scrutiny by the economic managers on that list. It might be taken up further at the Cabinet level after that… So [there will be] a sequence of policy reviews and consideration,” Mr. Uy told reporters.
Despite changing some of the “specifics” of the flagship projects, he said that the government is still poised to hit its infrastructure spending target of P4.7 trillion from 2017 to 2022, equivalent to 5% of gross domestic product (GDP).
“We’re still trying to meet the target of about P4.7 trillion over that period 2017-2022…. yun yung target (that’s the target) based on the estimates that we have to (spend) about 5% of GDP for the Build, Build, Build program,” he said.
He said the revised list of projects cannot yet be disclosed as the list is subject to a series of “policy reviews,” he said, adding that the list will have more or less 100 projects from the current 75.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia has said that the revised infrastructure flagship program list will now include more public-private partnerships (PPP) projects while some big-ticket items will be replaced with “smaller but game-changing” ones.
Mr. Pernia said some projects cannot be pursued due to inadequate technology to execute the works.
Some of the projects that will be dropped are the proposed bridges between Matnog, Sorgogon and Allen, Samar as well as a bridge connecting Leyte to Surigao.
To be included in the new list are the unsolicited proposals from the private sector such as the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan, and the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The inclusion of more PPPs, Mr. Uy said, is the government’s way of “recognizing” the willingness of the private sector to “participate and support” the “Build, Build, Build” program.
He noted that the investment program needs to continue beyond 2022 or after this administration.
“We hope that will be continued forward, beyond 2022. It’s important to make sure that all the things that we’ve been preparing for will have policy continuity,” he said. — Beatrice M. Laforga