Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6) — The revised “Build, Build, Build” project pipeline would carry more public-private partnership (PPP) deals, a presidential adviser said Wednesday.
Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects Vince Dizon said the revised list — which now features 100 projects versus the older with 75 items — has been approved by the Investment Coordination Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Wednesday. However, it did not release a copy of the updated list as of this writing.
The new list comes exactly three years after the Duterte administration unveiled the ambitious pipeline of big-ticket projects, touting their term as the “Golden Age of Infrastructure.” As of end-July, only two projects have been completed according to NEDA: the Japan-funded drainage repairs along Pasig River, and the state-funded dredging of the Pulangi River.
The new pipeline would now only cost ₱4.2 trillion even if more projects have been added.
Previously, the government said it will spend ₱8 trillion on infrastructure projects until 2022. The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said “Build, Build, Build” refers to “thousands of projects” which it plans to construct outside the flagship items.
Dizon said 26 PPP projects have been added to the pile — reverting to the path taken by Duterte’s predecessor, former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
“Continuity is what is most important for President Duterte. This is why all of the 100 flagship projects will be started under his term, with a significant number completed while some will be partially operational by 2022. The rest will have significant progress moving into the next administration,” said Dizon, who is also the president and chief executive officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
He clarified that the choice to go PPP comes with a caveat that “disadvantageous provisions” will not be allowed in contracts, such as automatic rate increases and non-compete clauses.
Duterte early on shifted projects towards foreign loans and grants known as official development assistance, instead of PPP. Japan and China have committed to fund several projects. However, critics have questioned choosing China as a partner, questioning the terms of the deal for the Kaliwa Dam.
Chinese-funded projects were also not as fast to move compared to those backed by Japan.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier disclosed that San Miguel Corporation’s project to construct a four-runway international airport in Bulacan as well as the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport proposed by a “super consortium” of big businesses in the country would be included in the new list. Both projects are fully funded by the private proponents and come without subsidies or guarantees from the state — a condition explicitly demanded by authorities.
In broad strokes, Dizon said the projects are clustered into five categories, with transport and mobility as priority. Others provide power, water, information and communications technology, and urban development and renewal. Dizon said focus is also given to the Visayas and Mindanao.
Among the biggest items on the list are the Metro Manila Subway Project, the North-South Commuter Railway, the Clark International Airport Expansion Project, Cebu Monorail System, Panay-Guimaras Negros Bridge, Samal Island-Davao City Connector Bridge, and the Mindanao Rail Project.
Pernia told CNN Philippines on Tuesday that the revised list would still need the President’s approval as chairman of the NEDA Board.
By Melissa Luz Lopez, CNN Philippines
November 6, 2019