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Duterte admin to spend P8.2T on infra over next six years

The Duterte administration has allocated P8.2 trillion solely to fund the “golden age of infrastructure” over the next six years, Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin M. Diokno said Tuesday.

“The next six years will be the age of infrastructure in this country – the golden age of infrastructure in this country,” he said, noting the government is now looking for more projects to expand the pipeline.

The Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) plans to boost infrastructure spending to 5.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), with the development works fast-tracked under a grueling pace of 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Diokno said his main concern about the budget allocation revolves on the absorptive capacity or the ability of the government to spend more than P8 trillion in the next six years.

“My worst fear is that we cannot spend all the money. But as the President said, use it or lose it,” Diokno said.

Diokno elaborate to reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Investment Conference 2016 that the government has to spend the money starting 2017.

“For the next six years. For 2017, close to P900 billion and it's increasing,” he said.

'It's the value'

No target has yet been set on the number of projects, but there are several big tickets in the works.

“There’s one big project – a 600-kilometer project in Palawan. Isa lang ‘yun, but it’s a huge project, so mahirap mag-target na 100 projects or a thousand, it’s the value of the project,” he said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) earlier this month said it has approved nine projects amounting to P171.14 billion. These projects were expected to be completed by 2022, the year the Duterte administration ends its six-year term.

Diokno, however, said the P8.2-trillion budget will not include public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

“’Yung PPP na inapprove namin recently, if I remember, mga P120 billion ‘yun ... But marami pang nasa pipeline, and we are going to activate , kaya lang kailangan pa daw ng engineering study,” he said.

The Cabinet official noted all infrastructure projects will be offered to bidders simultaneously starting January 1, 2017. “We will simultaneously bid out the projects January 1... It will be simultaneous, all over the country.”

“The best time to build projects in the country is in the first half – the dry months from January to June. The second half is kind of iffy,” he added. — VDS, GMA News