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Flagship infra projects set to start construction

TEN flagship infrastructure projects worth more than P59 billion will move into the construction stage this year, Finance department data showed.

The biggest is the P35.257-billion Mindanao Rail Project (Phase 1)-Tagum Davao Digos Segment, which involves the construction of 102-kilometer, non-electrified, single-track rail running through Digos, Davao City and Tagum in Region XI. The project will be funded by China and the national government.

Also included are projects funded solely by the Chinese government: the P4.607-billion Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, P1.367-billion Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge and the P4.372-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project.

Meanwhile, public-private partnership-joint venture projects such as the P1.780-billion Clark Green City Government Center, P850-million Clark Green City Commercial Center and the P3.331 -billion Clark Green City Mixed Income Housing are also set to start construction this year.

The remaining projects are the P2.335-billion operations and maintenance of the New Bohol Airport, the Korean-funded P4.858-billion Panguil Bay Bridge Project and the P1-billion improvement of remaining sections along Pasig River from Delpan Bridge to Napindan Channel.

These projects are among the 75 flagship infrastructure projects under the government’s “Build Build Build,” program, which will be bankrolled by tax reforms and concessional loans with an overall budget expected to hit up to P9 trillion by 2022.

In a separate statement, the Finance department said that institutional investors managing Asian pension and sovereign wealth funds were urged earlier this week to invest in the country’s $170-billion infrastructure modernization program.

“The modernization of our infrastructure and our governance will bring enhanced connectivity to the Philippine economy. They will open many opportunities for the global investment community. I hope that you will examine our on-going programs and decide to participate in the strong emergence of the Philippine economy,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd was quoted as having said during an Asia Pacific Investors Cooperation (APIC) meeting held in Tokyo, Japan.

APIC is a private network exclusively created by and for Asian sovereign wealth funds, government funds, central banks, and public and private pension plans, according to the agency.

“It is our desire to see the strategic projects completed at the shortest possible time in order to immediately

realize their economic value and lessen unnecessary financing costs,” Dominguez said.

Of the 75 high-impact infra projects under the “Build, Build, Build,” he said that 35 had already gone through the approval process and were now ready for execution.

The Finance chief said that besides tax reforms, the massive infrastructure program would be financed by increased official development assistance (ODA) from Japan and China, which have committed $9 billion each in investments and ODA; Korea, which has pledged up to $1 billion; investments from multilateral institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, floating bonds at investment-grade rates, and hybrid public-private partnerships.

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