Thanks to loans, Build, Build, Build ‘moving faster’ – DOF

Aika Rey
Build, Build, Build is currently financed by taxes, official development assistance, and commercial loans

SITE INSPECTION. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III speaks to reporters during an inspection of the National Government Administration Center on July 4, 2018. Photo by Aika Rey/Rappler

TARLAC, Philippines – Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Wednesday, July 4 said that the government infrastructure program “Build Build Build” was “moving faster” than expected, thanks to the current financing method.

“Our method of using government financing is working, it’s faster… We are pushing as quickly as we can. I think it’s moving more quickly,” Dominguez told reporters in a press briefing at the site development of Clark Green City.

Build, Build, Build is currently financed by taxes, official development assistance (ODA), and commercial loans.

Recently, the Department of Transportation inaugurated the new passenger terminals of Maasin Airport in Southern Leyte and Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu.

The Department of Public Works and Highways also boasted on Wednesday the completion of Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway portion all the way to Pozorrubio in Pangasinan, among other road works that have been completed.

Dominguez earlier said that the administration was “veering away” from the public-private partnership (PPP) thrust which has caused delays in badly-needed projects.

He said that PPP takes a longer implementation time, but said that the government will still consider PPP proposals.

“The ODA plus a hybrid – that is generally what we are doing. There are proposals for PPP. We are entertaining those proposals,” he said.

The Philippine government regularly meets with Chinese and Japanese counterparts, Dominguez said.

But the finance chief admitted there were some “delays” in terms of correspondences with their Chinese counterparts for projects they funded, mainly due to a reorganization within the Chinese government’s ranks in March.

“The Chinese government went through their reorganization that has delayed our meeting a bit. It is completely understandable. We will meet third week of August,” he said.

Senate inquiry?

In mid-June, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian expressed concerns on the mostly China-funded Build, Build, Build program.

Gatchalian had sought to probe the P8.4-trillion infrastructure program through Senate Resolution No. 759 filed on June 17.

Meanwhile, Recto was wary of ODA financing, saying that it could lead into a debt trap. (READ: Diokno not alarmed over funding for Build, Build, Build)

Forty out of 75 approved infrastructure projects as of July 2017 are funded through ODA, amounting to P1 trillion.

The budget department said P8 trillion to P9 trillion will be spent on the infrastructure program, raising infrastructure spending from 5.4% of the gross domestic product in 2017 to as high as 7.3% of the GDP in 2022.

The government targets the Philippine economy to grow by 7% in 2018, riding on the continuous rollout of its infrastructure program. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.