President Duterte has given the go-ahead to the longer list of 104 projects worth P4.1 trillion in the “Build, Build, Build” pipeline.

The list now includes additional health and information technology infrastructure that will enable Filipinos to better adapt to the “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua told the Senate finance committee on Thursday that of these big-ticket infrastructure projects, 24 were still in the preparation or approval stages, which would be fast-tracked this year so they could be implemented starting next year.

The bulk or 80 of the projects in the updated pipeline, approved on Aug. 19 by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board, which is chaired by the President, were already undergoing implementation, Chua said.

Chua, who also heads the Neda, said the proposed P1.12-trillion budget for infrastructure in 2021 would cover flagship projects under the Build, Build, Build, alongside smaller projects in the region which were “nonetheless very important in the whole economic recovery.”

He said the latest Build, Build, Build pipeline as of September included health, information and communications technology, as well as water infrastructure projects supportive of a bounce back to economic growth following the COVID-19-induced recession.

Also, Chua said “infrastructure will be one of the biggest sources of job creation” as these projects would provide jobs to overseas Filipino workers returning home amid the pandemic.

By: Ben O. de Vera