Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan (BusinessWorld)
OVER HALF of the government’s programmed infrastructure projects for the next three years will be built outside Metro Manila, while the poorest five regions will get almost a sixth — in line with the administration’s plan to develop the countryside.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), 2,857 infrastructure projects worth P524.48 billion or about 56.06%, of the total P935.55 billion region-specific projects in its three-year rolling infrastructure program (TRIP) will be built in areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR).
However, Metro Manila’s 293 projects are worth P180.37 billion, or 19.28% of the total.
Meanwhile, NEDA noted that the poorest regions in the country, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Caraga, Eastern Visayas, Soccsksargen, and Northern Mindanao, will get 1,313 infrastructure projects worth P157.44 billion — representing 16.82% of the total region-specific projects.
NEDA unveiled the TRIP late last month during the Dutertenomics forum, which includes a total 4,895 priority infrastructure projects amounting to P3.608 billion.
For 2018, funding of P1.13 trillion will be allocated for projects under TRIP; P1.18 trillion for 2019 and P1.29 trillion for 2020.
Out of all the projects, 4,498 are region-specific (P935.55 billion), 158 are inter-regional (P1.848 billion), and 239 are nationwide in scale (P824.47 billion).
“This is in line with the country’s National Spatial Strategy in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022. We want to set the country’s direction of future growth to one that strongly involves the regions and maximize this connectivity of sustainable urban and rural communities,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia in a statement sent to reporters yesterday.
The National Spatial Strategy was adopted to identify specific strategies and policies in order to decongest Metro Manila, connect rural areas to key growth areas, and to improve linkages between settlements for higher resilience against natural disasters, according to the PDP.
“This shows how serious this administration is in jump-starting growth in the regions and in addressing spatial and socioeconomic inequalities by linking lagging regions with leading ones,” Mr. Pernia added.
These projects will be funded by a mix of government appropriations — supported by expected additional revenues from the comprehensive tax reform program — Official Development Assistance (ODA), and public-private concessions.
Broken down, 3,334 will be domestically funded, while 70 infrastructure projects will be financed through ODA, Public-Private Partnerships on the other hand will support 33 projects.
Some 1,341 will be backed by other modes, and funding has yet to be determined for the remaining 117 projects.
The administration plans to jack up infrastructure and social spending to about 7.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) until the end of its term, in a bid to boost the economy to grow 7-8% next year until 2022 from 6.9% in 2016, and slash poverty incidence to 13-15% from 21.6% in 2015.
Mr. Pernia said earlier that the impact of the government’s public infrastructure spending will result to an annual gross value added on economic output to an average of 3.4% as percent of real GDP in nominal terms until 2022, and will generate an annual average of 1.063 million jobs.