Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, July 28, 2006

Meetings begin on P290-B infrastructure plan

By Michelle Remo, Riza T. Olchondra
THE government's economic team has begun a series of meetings to firm up a list of infrastructure projects totaling P290 billion that the administration hopes to do from this year until President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ends her term in 2010, officials said Thursday.

Arroyo highlighted the massive plant in her State of the Nation Address last Monday, which was immediately met with questions on funding.

Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said that after listing the projects, the economic team would follow up with feasibility studies by the different implementing agencies.

Some of the big-ticket projects on the list are new airports in Zamboanga, San Vicente in Palawan, Cagayan, Bagabag, Poro and La Union, and improvement of the two airports in Batanes province.

Also planned are interconnection of the North Luzon and South Luzon Expressways, extension of Metro Manila's overhead Light Rail Transit to Bacoor town to the south, connection of the north stations of the Light Rail Transit and the Metro Rail Transit, upgrade of the Subic seaport, and construction a roll-on, roll-off port system to link Lucena in Quezon and Boac in Marinduque.

The projects already have sources of financing, said Beltran and Secretary Leandro Mendoza of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC).

Mendoza said they would be funded partly from the government's annual budget and largely with official development assistance (ODA) from multilateral and bilateral donor agencies.

Mendoza also said government-owned or -controlled corporations under the DoTC -- including the Philippine Ports Authority and the Manila International Airport Authority -- had confirmed existence of funds to support the seaport and airport projects.

The ODA will be obtained from the World Bank, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the Chinese government, Korea Export-Import Bank and European governments, the officials said.
Local government units will also be tapped to assist in fund raising, Beltran said.

The economic team includes Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila, Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya and Governor Amando Tetangco of the central bank.

It has set a target of increasing spending for infrastructure to five or six percent of the gross domestic product, in line with ratios in neighboring countries, from the present two to three percent of GDP. With INQ7.net


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