The Philippine government is pushing infrastructure development under the administration’s flagship “Build, Build, Build” program to help the country’s economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recently approved the 2021 national budget, which is currently being deliberated in the Congress. Under the proposed PHP 4.5 trillion (USD 92.8 billion) total budget, the government increased the budget for infrastructure development by 41% to PHP 1.107 trillion (USD 23 billion).
Meanwhile, the private sector is also mobilizing investments in support of fast tracking infrastructure development in the country.
In September 2020, the Philippine Congress approved on final reading the bill granting a franchise to San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to build and operate the PHP 734 billion (USD 15 billion) New Manila International Airport in Bulacan. The proposed airport is expected to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and support growth and development in Central Luzon.
Shortly thereafter, SMC began shelling out PHP 100 million (USD 2.7 million) assistance to residents displaced by the project. Additionally, SMC is providing those in the project’s community the opportunity to learn skills to qualify for jobs at the airport, or to start their own small business.
In addition, in July 2020, infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. announced that they will be investing PHP120 billion (USD 2.5 billion) to construct new expressways, delivering a clear and strong signal of support for President Duterte’s aggressive infrastructure program. The move is in addition to the group restarting existing construction projects in the country.
(Sources: Business World Online; CNN Philippines; Manila Bulletin; Manila Standard)