House panel vows funding support for Duterte’s massive infra plan

MANILA-- The chairman of the House of Representatives' appropriations committee on Tuesday vowed to provide funding support for the ambitious infrastructure program of the Duterte administration which would usher in the golden age of infrastructure in the Philippines.

In a statement, committee chair and Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles said his panel would ensure that the government would have enough funds for the three-year rolling infrastructure program (TRIP) that would cost at least PHP1.13 trillion for 2018, PHP1.18 trillion for 2019 and PHP1.29 trillion for 2020.

"To hasten national economic development, we have to build and modernize the needed infrastructures nationwide. We anticipate that the President, in his State of the Nation Address, will spell out his crucial public infra-building program that will boost the country's economy," Nograles said.

Nograles said the Duterte administration's Build, Build, Build program will be prioritized by the House appropriations panel, as it will create cascading effects on several aspects of development such as health care, education, job and investment generation, poverty alleviation, and peace and order.

"We cannot waste time. The time to build critical infrastructures, like railways, bridges, expressways, subways, and other infrastructures is now," Nograles said.

The Davao City lawmaker also pointed out that a "balanced economic development will help deny the enemies of government reasons for their rebellion."

Nograles said the government's economic master plan called Dutertenomics is aimed at building the needed infrastructures to bring balanced development nationwide, especially in long-neglected regions in Mindanao and the Visayas.

"The logic of Dutertenomics is simple and practical. If we modernize our infrastructure, we will modernize the economy down to the farthest municipality. And everything else will follow," he added.

DuterteNomics would ramp up infrastructure spending with an allocation of PHP847.2 billion or 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) on infrastructure projects this year.

The government also plans to spend up to PHP9 trillion on public infrastructure from 2017 to 2022 for the construction of bridges, highways, railways, airports, and ports.

Among the "big ticket projects" are the Clark-Subic Rail, Tutuban-Clark Railway system; the 581-kilometer south line of the North South Railway Project connecting Tutuban, Calamba, Batangas and Bicol; the Panguil Bay Bridge; the Clark International Airport-Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit; the construction of three new bridges across Pasig River; and construction of the Kaliwa Dam and the Chico River Dam.

Source: Philippine News Agency