The Department of Public Works and Highways will be spending 5.4 percent of the national gross domestic product for infrastructure, the highest in the last 47 years, to be able to build new highways, bridges, ports and airport, considered as the main driver of the economy.
Public works Secretary Mark Villar said key infrastructure projects will be pursued by the Duterte administration across all regions.
Citing a study conducted by the International Monetary Fund, Villar said that a sustained increase in public infrastructure spending to five percent of GDP would add a total of five-six percent to GDP after 15 years.
“At our highest – a maximum of 3.2 percent was pegged for infrastructure spending. This administration would like to raise the bar and address the deficit. It is the only way we could solve both traffic and flooding,” Villar said.
“Development has always been faster than our road and transportation networks. We’d like to catch up—and hopefully preempt it in the next six years,” he said.
A 2015 IMF report found that the Philippines consistently had lower public investment than other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, averaging only 2.5 percent in 2000 to 2014. The same study pointed that public capital stock is also one of the lowest among Aseancountries—at about 35 percent of GDP in 2013. Regional Average is pegged at 72 percent of GDP.
“China and India have been spending at least eight percent of their GDP in infrastructure spending. We’d like to catch up. Underspending would not be a problem of this administration,” he said.
Among the priority projects for DPWH are the Sta. Monica -Lawton-BGC Link Road Project, a 1.15 km bridge, roadway and viaduct structure, which will connect Lawton Avenue in Makati City to Sta. Monica, Fairlane, and Brixton in Pasig City and Bonifacio Global City; the UP-Miriam-Ateneo Viaduct, a 1,820 meter four lane permanent viaduct, which will reduce travel time in Katipunan and CP Garcia by 80 percent.
“The NLEX-SLEX Connector Project, an eight km four lane expressway from C3 Road in Caloocan City to PUP in Sta. Mesa, Manila, which is expected to reduce travel time between SLEX-NLEX from two hours to 30 minutes; the Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros-Cebu Link Bridge, an interisland bridge project which would link the Visayan Islands of Panay, Guimaras, Negros and Cebu, and the Davao City Bypass Construction project, a 44.6 km tunnel and roadway structure, which would reduce travel time from Digos in Davao del Sur to Panabo in Davao del Norte by 55 minutes were all under the priority program,” Villar said.