Dominguez assures speedy, graft-free BBB projects

WITH an array of flagship infrastructure projects due for rollout this year, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III expressed confidence that these projects under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, “Build” program will be implemented fast enough and free from graft and corruption.

The Duterte administration has identified 75 flagship infrastructure projects under its five-year “Build, Build, Build” program, of which 23 have been given the go- signal by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board chaired by President Duterte and are already “shovel-ready,” Dominguez said.

“Under the leadership of President Duterte, we have managed to reduce corruption to the barest minimum in all our government efforts. We have started the projects already,” Dominguez said in an interview in Singapore on the sidelines of the Asean Finance Ministers’ and Central Governors’ Meeting.

“So the projects are going quickly, and we are very, very confident that they are going to be completed on time with no corruption,” he added.

With a combined total cost of $170 billion, the implementation of these big-ticket infrastructure projects “is the heart of the economic program” of the Duterte administration, Dominguez said.

“This investment is very much needed by our country. We have to modernize our infrastructure and, at the same time, provide a lot of good jobs and a lot of business opportunities for our people,” Dominguez said.

In his speech last April 5 at the 8th World-Bank Singapore Infrastructure Finance Summit, Dominguez said the Duterte administration has tweaked the traditional public-private partnership program (PPP) into a “hybrid” model so that the government now implements the projects using a combination of its own budget, the massive inflows of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and funds raised from bond floats at investment-grade rates to speed up project execution, reduce completion risks and deliver the economic benefits to the people as soon as possible.

Dominguez also underscored in his speech the need to include a fourth component in the PPP—a “last P,” which he said means “people,” to ensure that they benefit the most from the projects implemented through this mode.

As examples of the government’s resolve to swiftly implement its big-ticket projects, Dominguez cited the P9.3-billion expansion of the passenger terminal of the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, which already broke ground, and the signing of the P51.3-billion loan agreement with Japan for the first tranche of Tokyo’s financing assistance to build the first phase of the Philippines’ first Metro Manila subway. (PR)