Euro firms targeted for big-ticket projects

They can assist us in financing projects through PPP and we hope that investors can be supportive of many projects of DoTr. We have public-private partnerships projects for airports, railways, road and maritime

The Department of Transportation is targeting to draw up more European investments in the country’s big-ticket transport projects to keep its massive infrastructure goals on track amid budgetary constraints.

“The biggest obstacle has always been fund-sourcing, considering the strained national budget of our government after coming out of the pandemic,” Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said on Wednesday.

Bautista met top officials of the European Union-Association of South East Asian Nations Council and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines to discuss various possibilities in generating investments in the transport sector.

“We offered various infrastructure transport projects to international financial institutions, private investors, and professional associations and industry groups,” Bautista said.


Viable option

Bautista pointed out that project financing from foreign business groups has been a viable option to undertake massive projects locally.

Among others, the Transportation chief also reiterated that the proposed privatization of the operation and management of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and New Manila International Airport can be a rosy option for the private sector to invest in.

“Other regional airports across the country are in the pipeline for privatization,” he said.

He also cited other infrastructure projects in various transport sectors such as railways, maritime and road, including the Metro Manila Subway, North-South Commuter Railway, LRT-1 Cavite Extension Project, MRT-7, and MRT-4.

“They can assist us in financing the projects through PPP so, we hope investors from their countries can be supportive of many projects of the DoTr. We have public-private partnerships projects for airports, rails and for roads and for maritime,” Bautista said.


PPP revitalization

The Marcos administration has revitalized public-private partnerships to ante up its infrastructure program.

Last March, the National Economic and Development Authority announced a P9-trillion flagship infrastructure program —many of which will be funded via the public-private partnership mode.

Based on targets, the government plans to build 194 infrastructure projects. Of these, 123 were proposed by the incumbent administration, while the other 71 were carried over from the previous one.

As indicated in the NEDA report, about 45 of these projects will be financed through the help of the private sector.



PHilMech expects youth embracing machines 


The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization or PHilMech targets the youth in embracing the mechanization program for farms.

“We’re doing this to spark the interest of the youth in operating machines and training others. This is by far the biggest project we have for the future of agriculture,” Dr. Dionisio Alvindia, PHilMech Director IV, said Wednesday during the center’s 45th anniversary.

Alvindia said the country now has a bigger pool of young farmers to tap as the average age of Filipino farmers is now younger at 47 from 57 previously.

He added the new farmers will be critical in the application of PHilMech’s climate machines with less emitting carbon Euro 3 and 4 engines, and predictive technologies with artificial intelligence that analyzes the health of the soil and plants.


Available in 4 yrs

Alvindia expects the technologies to be available within four years and help farmers reduce postharvest losses and fight climate change, which causes extreme drought, floods and forest fires.

“We don’t only think of productivity but also saving the planet. This is the heart of the fourth industrial revolution. We will transform agriculture and today is the beginning of that future.”

Alvindia said the Filipino youth will also benefit from other machines to be rolled out from the Agricultural Machinery Design and Prototyping Center in Nueva Ecija, which is now being built under the Philippines’ partnership with Korea International Cooperation Agency of South Korea.

In the center, South Korean scientists will share their knowledge on farming mechanization with Filipinos so they can build their own machines in the future.

Leocadio Sebastian, Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for rice industry development, was grateful for this collaboration but stressed the Philippine officials must carefully study which agricultural areas mostly need mechanization.

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