A new era of Philippine infrastructure

Commentary / Nov - Dec 2017

A new era of Philippine infrastructure

by Harry Joseph F. Serrano

The promise of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to usher the country into a development boom has come. Ominously called BUILD BUILD BUILD, it is a battle cry powered by angst and exasperation born from decades-long infrastructure backlog suffered by the Filipinos.

The government presents a three-point financing strategy to pay for this venture. First is to have a planned deficit increase from 2 to 3 per cent during the Duterte administration. Second is to get 80 per cent local funding while the remaining 20 per cent can be sourced from external lenders. Third is the most critical because it is designed to promote competitiveness that fuels growth. The government will implement the Comprehensive Tax Reform
Package (CTRP), making it more efficient and in turn attractive for investors.

According to Philippines’ Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the country will spend an unprecedented USD18.8 billion for infrastructure in 2017. In the past three decades, the country has never reached the 5 per cent to GDP threshold for infrastructure spending. This year, it passed the 5.3 per cent mark. Prior to this, the Marcos government allocated an average of 3.2 per cent (Philippine Institute of Development Studies, 2017). Infrastructure spending will reach as high as 7.4 per cent to GDP by 2022.

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