Infrastructure is one of the major drivers of the Philippine economy, and the following big-ticket projects announced by the present administration is being seen to sustain that growth
Real estate and quality infrastructure systems have always had a significant impact on the economy, as both provide the physical groundwork and connectivity required to achieve social, financial, and environmental progress, which then leads to rapid urbanization and sustainable growth. In developing countries like the Philippines, real estate and infrastructure are the biggest drivers of the economy, acting as catalysts to growth in investment and tourism, as well as consumption and employment.
While the first year of the Duterte presidency can be described as tumultuous in some respects, what has been clear is the present administration’s intent to embark on what it calls a “golden age of infrastructure.” Apart from possibly increasing government spending, an important aspect which is often heralded as the driver of the country’s growth, new infrastructure will also encourage increased spending on the real estate front, as it will make it easier to invest buying and developing properties in more areas.
Based on the most recent information on government’s infrastructure portal, Build.gov.ph, the following are big-ticket projects that have already been rolled out or announced by the present administration.
Clark International Airport Expansion (Phase 1)
The Clark International Airport Expansion (Phase 1) project follows the airport’s expansion of its passenger terminal building, which cost Php417 million and was finished in 2013. With a budget of Php17 billion, the expansion is being implemented by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), and began on October 3, 2016.
Clark International Airport (CIA), formerly called Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), is the fastest-growing airport in the country and is in line for two more major developments in the next decade or so. One is the transformation of CIA into a major aviation hub in the Philippines, serving as an alternative to the already congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay and Parañaque. Another is to make it into an aerotropolis, an urban development concept where the city is built around the airport and provides connectivity between businesses, suppliers, workers, executives, and vendors.
BGC to NAIA Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System
The BGC to NAIA Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System was one of the first projects that the board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved in September 2016 for implementation. Worth Php21.9 billion, the project started a month later after approval. The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the agency implementing the project, expects completion by 2019.
The project comes as a larger BRT system is being eyed for the metro, i.e., Metro Manila BRT System. The proposed system is aimed at connecting Roxas Boulevard and EDSA. For the BGC to NAIA BRT project, a portion may have to be underground. Once completed, travel time from Bonifacio Global City (BGC) to NAIA is projected to be as short as 15 minutes.
New Clark City: Food Processing Terminal and International Food Market, National Government Center, and Philippine Sports City
New Clark City’s Food Processing Terminal and International Food Market, National Government Center, and Philippine Sports City is three of the several big-ticket projects being implemented by the BCDA in an effort to create the country’s first eco-industrial metropolis. The projects will reportedly cost Php211.3 billion, and start in 2017 and 2018.
Alternately known as Clark Green City (CGC), New Clark City is intended to combine industry and agriculture, while benefiting from the infrastructure and connectivity to Manila and adjoining provinces. The new metropolis is reportedly designed to work with nature, as a lush central park is said to wrap around by the planned business district, while the verdant hills of the city’s outskirts will be preserved. A network of open spaces will join diverse mixed-use districts from agriculture, industry, business, housing, education, to sports.
PNR North 2
The PNR North 2 project is considered the initial step in the administration’s commitment to resurrect the old and almost forgotten rail-tracks of the Philippine National Railways. Estimated to be worth Php150 billion, the project is part of the 107-kilometer Philippine National Railways (PNR) North Railway project started in November 2016 by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
It is divided into two phases: the Php105 billion 38-kilometer PNR North 1, which connects Tutuban in downtown Manila to Malolos, Bulacan; and the 69.5-kilometer PNR North 2 that will extend to Clark International Airport and New Clark City. PNR North 1 was started during the previous administration and will serve 300,000 passengers, and is expected to be finished by 2021. PNR North 2 is intended to serve more passengers, about 350,000, in its first year. It will reportedly feature proper intermodal connections from train stations to other modes of transportation, and is also designed to help preserve and restore historical Spanish-era stations.
Unified Common Station
The Php2.8 billion Unified Common Station of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Quezon City is a 13,700-square-meter project being built between SM North EDSA and TriNoma Mall. It was started on February 1, 2017, and is targeted for completion in 2020.
The MRT–LRT common station will connect the LRT-1, the MRT-3, and the MRT-7 stations. It will have three main areas: area A where the platform and concourse for LRT-1 and MRT-3 are located, area B where the two concourses connecting Areas A and C are located, and (3) area C where the platform for MRT-7 is located. The DOTr, the implementing agency, has reportedly guaranteed that with the common station, passengers will experience seamless transfer from one train line to another, enjoy convenient walks while transferring platform transfers, be in a bigger and more comfortable space, and have easy access to two retail centers.
Bacolod Economic Highway
With its supposed commitment to decentralizing Metro Manila, The Build, Build, Build project team of the Duterte administration has also aimed to further the infrastructures of major cities outside of the National Capital Region. Estimated at Php5.79 billion, the Bacolod Economic Highway project in Bacolod City is one currently being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). It was started on February 9, 2017.
Upon completion, the highway in “The City of Smiles” will stretch to 21 kilometers, covering the barangays of Sum-ag, Cabug, Felisa, Handumanan, Mansilingan, Estefania, Granada, and Mandalagan. The highway will commence at the Bacolod Silay Access Road in Barangay Bata, one of the major thoroughfares of Bacolod City.
Panguil Bay Bridge
Projected to begin construction in the first quarter of 2018, the Php4.86 billion Panguil Bay Bridge project will be for the benefit of the provinces of Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, and Lanao del Norte. The construction of the bridge, according to the DPWH, will take about three years, targeted for completion in 2021.
The project is a product of a loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of Korea-Economic Development Cooperation Fund (KEXIM-EDCF), discussions of which actually began in 2014 with a funding pegged at about Php5 billion. When completed, the bridge will connect Tangub City of Misamis Occidental and Tubod City of Lanao del Norte, which is intended to reduce the travel time from an average of 2 hours to a mere 7 minutes. Most importantly, travel time from larger cities like Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City to the cities of Tangub, Ozamis, Oroquieta, Dipolog, and Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte is also expected to improve significantly.
Davao City By-pass
The Davao City By-pass road project was conceptualized in a bid to improve the transport logistics and mitigate traffic congestion in the city. The Php19.81 billion project is a DPWH-implemented undertaking with partial funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It consists of two parts: the South Section (road) and Center Section (tunnel) package, and the North Section (road) package. The former includes the 28.8-kilometer road, 2.28-kilometer tunnel, and the improvement of existing 10.20-kilometer two connector roads. The latter includes a 15.78-kilometer road. The project will start on January 1, 2018, and is expected to be finished by 2022.
When completed, the project is supposed to reduce travel time from one hour and 44 minutes (via the Pan Philippine Highway and Davao Diversion Road) to only 49 minutes. Also, huge trucks that add to the traffic jam and the wear of the main roads within the city will have a shorter alternate route upon the availability of the bypass.
Main image via Deposit Photos