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Infra build up restores hope

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It is envisioned by the Administration as a centerpiece program designed to address the infrastructure backlog in the country in terms of interconnectivity and access, as well as provision of basic social infrastructure facilities and services, which are necessary for human capital development.

To get the economy back on its feet, policies for recovery must all focus on building back the economy better in the midst of the pandemic.

Under Duterte’s resilient and sustainable “Build, Build, Build” Program, construction will emerge stronger as the government continues with its pandemic mitigation efforts.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez said the acceleration of infrastructure modernization will remain the cornerstone of the recovery plan, which goes hand-in-hand with tax reform and additional legislation to stimulate the economy.

According to Dominguez, restarting “Build, Build, Build” projects, especially projects in the regions, is the best way to revive the economy as infrastructure has a high multiplier effect of raising incomes and providing employment thereby stimulating demand and supply.

The government’s strategic investments not only in infrastructure but in human capital as well will propel the country to the ranks of upper middle-income economies, a status that this administration hopes to achieve by 2022 and which President Rodrigo Duterte envisions to be “his greatest legacy.

“The program will not only rev up the economy, but will also fix the country’s weak infrastructure and logistics network, which has driven up production and operational costs for manufacturers and investors alike,” Dominguez said.

The Department of Finance sees the level of infrastructure investments are unprecedented, considering these are “highly sustainable and fiscally responsible and supports our overarching goal of accelerating poverty reduction.”

In 2019, infrastructure spending was equivalent to 5.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) or more than double the average of the ratio for the past 50 years.

In 2020, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the government spent 4.5 percent of GDP on infrastructure.

BBB will provide a more comfortable life for all Filipinos for several reasons:

  • It is envisioned by the Administration as a centerpiece program designed to address the infrastructure backlog in the country in terms of interconnectivity and access, as well as provision of basic social infrastructure facilities and services, which are necessary for human capital development;
  • At the onset of the Administration, BBB aimed to accelerate public infrastructure expenditure from an average of 2.9 percent of GDP during the previous administration to about seven to 7.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022 to sustain the country’s growth;
  •  The government’s strategic investments not only in infrastructure but in human capital as well will propel the country to the ranks of upper middle-income economies, a status that this administration hopes to achieve by 2022 and which President Rodrigo Duterte envisions to be “his greatest legacy,” Dominguez said; and
  • BBB is expected to drive and jumpstart economic recovery through its multiplier effect by providing jobs and income, thereby stimulating domestic demand and consumption. As a physical indicator of progress, BBB contributes in setting the confidence of the people, the market and investors in the economic recovery.

More than big-ticket projects, “Build, Build, Build” is also about some 20,000 small- and medium-sized projects that are either ongoing or already completed and would dramatically improve the quality of life of Filipino families. It also comprises both the flagship projects, and the tens of thousands of relatively smaller projects across the country ranging from roads, airports and seaports to classrooms, evacuation centers and flood control works.

BBB is also part of the government’s pandemic response efforts, through provision of facilities to scale up the country’s capacity of testing, treatment, and isolation.

More BBB projects are also being identified in the areas of health, education, housing, water and sanitation to increase the resilience of the country in handling pandemic and emergency response.

Dominguez also recognized the invaluable support of the country’s development partners in the region, such as China, Japan and South Korea, as well as by multilateral institutions such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank to the centerpiece of the Duterte administration’s economic strategy “to achieve historic growth levels, create jobs, enhance productivity and put the Philippines on par with the most dynamic economies of this region.”

Through a combination of soft loans and grants, China helped the Philippines jump-start its “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program Japan and South Korea, meanwhile, similarly supported the Philippines’ infra buildup through increased flows of their respective official development assistance.

The heavy investment in infrastructure will create jobs and boost local demand, which will help our economy recover amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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