First in years: govt spending on sched

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Abad said government has learned its lesson from the past year

MANILA, Philippines – The Aquino administration has begun implementing  P141.8-billion in infrastructure projects starting on the first working day of 2012, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said on Monday, Jan 2, 2011.

Abad said in a press statement that the “big difference” this year, compared to 2011, “is that project implementation can now take place in January 2012 and not in August as was the case for the 2011 budget.”

Abad also said that President Benigno Aquino III has approved the allocation of P1.16 billion for structural works on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA 1).

“By January, we will comprehensively issue the allotments for the P141.8-billion infrastructure projects. The implementing departments and agencies will then be able to bid these out. In fact, many of these projects have already been bid-out short of award,” Abad said.

He said the infrastructure projects include national roads and bridges; airports, seaports and lighthouses; classrooms and other education facilities; potable water supply systems, irrigation and post-harvest facilities; and flood control and slope protection structures.

Abad said that of 2,187 line-item infrastructure projects nationwide funded in the 2012 budget, 2,025 projects or 93% have been bidded out and will be given notices to proceed for the first quarter of 2012.

The P141.8 billion is part of the P182.2-billion total budget for government infrastructure under the 2012 budget–25.6% higher than in 2011 and is 1.6% of the gross domestic product (GPD), compared to 1.4% of GDP in 2011.

Of the total infrastructure program fund, P91.57 billion will go to the Department of Public Works and Highways; agriculture sector, P27.8 billion; Department of Education (DepEd), P13.97 billion; and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), P7.2 billion.

The fund would also provide the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with P770 million for infrastructure projects; Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, P107.96-million; and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), P356.9 million.

“It is now possible due to the disaggregation of lump sums and the early pre-procurement activities that rolled up in the last quarter of the year,” he said.

Abad also said that Mr Aquino has approved the allocation of P1.16 billion for the revival of NAIA-1 as a world-class airport that will aid the government in its goal of luring more tourists to the country.

Structural integrity

“If we are to revive NAIA-1, we must first address the structural integrity of the terminal for safety of travelers. That will provide a firm foundation for further improvement work to ensure efficient, convenient and comfortable travel,” Abad said.

He said that P1.16 billion was sourced through a reallocation from the Public-Private Partnership Support Fund in the DOTC’s budget for 2011.

Of the total amount, P340 million will be used for urgent structural retrofit to improve the structure of the NAIA-1 building, to make it compliant with the 2010 National Structural Code of the Philippines.

Architectural, engineering and interior design and works to improve the airport’s internal facilities will get P500 million, while P300 million will be spent to resolve runway congestion, and P20 million will be used for the complete rehabilitation of all 72 toilets in NAIA-1. –

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