The Philippine Government has completed numerous projects under its centerpiece infrastructure plan – Build! Build! Build! (BBB) – according to cabinet official Vivencio Dizon. 

In a virtual forum on Monday (April 12), Dizon, who serves as Presidential Adviser on Flagship Program and Projects, announced that the national government has so far completed 424 tourism ports, 121 airports, 5,555 bridges, and a total of 26,494 kilometers of roadways under its flagship infrastructure scheme. 

Some of the completed projects include the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), Metro Manila Skyway 3, Angat Water Transmission Project, Harbor Link, Laguna Lake Highway, Cagayan De Oro Seaport, New Clark City Phase 1, Sangley Airport, Luzon Bypass Infrastructure Project, the Pozorrubio and Rosario Exit, and Clark International Airport New Passenger Building.

Besides the good news, Dizon also highlighted the difficulties their department has faced due to the COVID-19 health crisis. According to him, their operations took a ‘hit’ due to restrictions. 

“This clearly took a hit along with all other sectors of the economy because of COVID-19,” he stated in a report published by The Manila Times.

The Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO also shared that the budget toward the Philippines’ infrastructure spending decreased to 4.5% due to the pandemic. 

“For 2020, we took a huge hit. We were supposed to be spending more than 6% of GDP on infrastructure but because of COVID-19, this just went down to 4.5% or roughly about P824 billion, lower than the average of 2017 to 2019,” Dizon explained. 

Due to the lingering pandemic, Dizon expects infrastructure spending for 2021 to be less than what’s expected. He notes that the government is only allotting 5.9% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for this year’s infrastructure development – a sum of P1.1 trillion.

Although things don’t seem to be looking up for the government’s BBB program this year, Dizon hopes the country can bounce back in 2022 – projecting P1.15-trillion in infrastructure spending.

According to Dizon, continued support for the country’s infrastructure plans will be fundamental in stabilizing the economy and its overall recovery. 

“The unprecedented investments that this administration started in infrastructure is the way to not only forward to recovery post-COVID but is also something that we must continue, especially given the very hard [situation] that our countrymen are now in,” he remarked.

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Image credit: Brent Lewin / Bloomberg via Getty Images