Salceda proposes ‘Build Build More’ infra program worth P2.25-T by end of Marcos admin

Salceda proposes ‘Build Build More’ infra program worth P2.25-T by end of Marcos admin

House Ways and Means Chair Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has filed House Resolution No. 6 (HR No. 6), a joint House-Senate resolution adopting “Build, Build More” as a National Infrastructure Development Framework under the ‘AmBisyon Natin 2040,’ the long term development program of the country in the next 25 years.

HR No. 6 proposes an infrastructure program geared towards what Salceda describes as “both social and economic infrastructure” that would “end extreme poverty, create a stronger middle class, and accelerate sustainable and equitable economic growth.”

The ‘Build, Build More’ or BBM program sets a minimum annual spending target of six percent (6%) of the gross domestic product (GDP), expanded from the past administration’s infrastructure expenses of 5% on the average, which was nearly double from the previous Noynoy Aquino presidency, or a projected P2.25 trillion by the end of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos’ term in 2028.

‘AmBisyon Natin 2040’ recognizes the need to overcome the challenges brought about by the Philippines’ current political system, bound to the limits of six-year presidential terms, through long-term planning and the articulation of a national vision for socioeconomic development.

Salceda said “achieving the vision of AmBisyon 2040 requires significant investments in public goods, primarily infrastructure.” The proposed BBM scheme is based on President Marcos’ commitment to pursue the massive infrastructure program initiated by Duterte.

Salceda said the BBM program aims, among others, to: 1) Ensure adequate, affordable, and accessible food supply, through productivity and efficiency-enhancing, and market-facilitating infrastructure in the agricultural value chain; and 2) promote commerce and industry by reducing transport and logistics costs through a network of roads, bridges, railways, ports, and airports and other infrastructure assets to make the transit of goods cheaper, faster, and more convenient. 

The program prioritizes 16 key areas: agriculture, logistics, digital economy, disaster resiliency, healthcare, education and skills development, and education and skills development, housing, and energy.

Likewise included in the priority list are infrastructures for the arts, culture and heritage; economic super regions such as Central Philippines Tourism Area, North Luzon Growth Quadrangle and Mindanao Food Basket; as well as infrastructures for science for change including basic research in agri-biotech, health, digital economy such as CRADLE (Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy);

NICER (Niche Centers in the Regions), and BIST [Business Innovations through Science and Technology]; growth-supporting infrastructures for maritime connectivity; peace-supporting infrastructures in the Bangsamoro and other former conflict areas; and for ease of doing business, and national spatial integration through a high standard highway network.

Salceda said the proposed BBM envisions to generate infrastructure assets that are superior in quality and durability; promote balance in the allocation of infrastructure projects between high-growth-potential regions and regions lagging behind in economic growth; to be fiscally sustainable and funded in a manner that will yield the highest socioeconomic benefits at the lowest fiscal cost to government, consistent with a medium-term fiscal framework; and

To integrate and enhance disaster resilience and climate change adaptation and climate proofing of existing infrastructures, relocation of high risk communities, and construction of evacuation facilities for low and medium risk communities. 

HR No. 6 is expected to complement another Joint Resolution on the medium term fiscal plan that Salceda said Speaker Martin Romualdez has discussed with him recently — a medium term fiscal plan they will discuss shortly with the administration’s economic managers. “Basically, however, fiscal resources will determine how the proposed infra program will be funded,” he explained, adding that this will align infrastructure with the medium term fiscal program. 

The BBM program also opens financing of infrastructure projects to “deeply concessional official development assistance (ODA) deals, the issuance of bonds during favorable market conditions, and public-private partnerships and joint ventures,” Salceda further added.

The program also seeks to help LGUs fund local infrastructure projects “through capacity development, development of a credit scoring mechanism that private financial institutions can use, create a system for offering municipal bonds in a fiscally sustainable manner, and assist in navigating the PPPs,” he said.