Marcos to allot 5-6% of GDP for infrastructureBy HANA BORDEY,GMA News
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday said the government will allot five to six percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) for infrastructure projects.
"Necessarily, infrastructure development will remain a very high priority in our drive for growth and employment... Infrastructure development spending will be sustained at 5% to 6% of the GDP," Marcos said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Tagging the infrastructure program as the "backbone of an economy," the president stated that he is not keen on suspending any programs that he inherited from former President Rodrigo Duterte and he plans to expand it.
"Once again, I will not suspend any of the ongoing projects as those have already been shown to be of benefit to the public that they serve. We will continue to study the proposals that have been made," he said.
"The infrastructure program of the Duterte administration must not only continue but, wherever possible, be expanded. We shall confidently build on this firm foundation established by my predecessor. As it is in building an edifice. We must keep the momentum. And aspire to build better more," he added.
To make this possible, Marcos said the government must continue to encourage the participation of the private sector in infrastructure development. One example is the use of Public Private Partnerships.
Infrastructure developments are also necessary to improve other sectors such as agriculture, tourism, general economic activity and governance, Marcos said.
The president made a special mention on the lack of infrastructure development in the rail transport system.
"It is my belief that we have missed a great opportunity to develop our rail transport system. It is clear in my mind that railways offer great potential as it continues to be the cheapest way of transporting goods and passengers," he said.
Marcos said the government can build on already existing lines by modernizing the old railway systems.
"There are a dozen rail projects – on the ground, above the ground, below ground, not just in Manila, but in other regions – at various stages of implementation, and with a combined cost of 1.9 trillion pesos," he noted.
"This administration is committed to finishing building the current portfolio of investments," he vowed.
These railway projects include the North-South Commuter Railway System; the 33-kilometer Metro Manila Subway Project; the 147-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway System; the 12-kilometer LRT-1 Cavite Extension; the 23-kilometer MRT-7; and the Common Station that will connect LRT-1, MRT-3 and MRT-7.
The government will also pursue the completion of railways outside the National Capital Region such as the 102-kilometer Mindanao Railway Project; Panay Railway Project; and the Cebu railway system which will be integrated as a vital part of the transport and communications systems.
The president also vowed to improve the roads and transportation systems in highly-urbanized and key cities across the country namely the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit, Davao High Priority Bus System, Ilocos Norte Transportation Hub, and the El Nido Transport Terminal.
"My order to the Department of Transportation is simple: Full speed ahead!" Marcos said.
"Improving our railway system, along with modernizing existing airports and seaports, will maximize our strategic location in the Pacific and connect our many islands," he said.—LDF, GMA News