Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic policy has called for significant measures to transform the country into a modern one, and it may well become his defining legacy. The Philippines has had the reputation of being the ‘sick man of Asia’, but with this policy, development, and successful action, this could plan could transform the country. As reported on We Build Value, the country is heavily investing in infrastructure as a key piece in this development plan, introducing a new tailored infrastructure programme. 

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‘Build, Build, Build’ 

The name of the new infrastructure programme is ‘Build, Build, Build’. 

Department chief economist Karl Chua explained that 75 flagship projects are being looked at by the government, including: six airports, nine railways, 32 roads and bridges, four seaports, and three bus rapid transits. 

Key projects include: the North-South railway projects connection, the Subic-Clark Railway, an industrial park in Clark, Pampanga, and an expansion upon the existing Clark International Airport. Other projects include: energy facilities (reducing the cost of supply), water resource and irrigation systems (to improve health and hygiene), flood control facilities (to assist with natural and other events) and more. 

Over the next 10 years, President Duterte announced that there would be $180 billion dedicated to infrastructure. 

To assist in the funding, China, Japan and South Korea have all offered investments said Finance Asec. Maria Edita Tan. President Duterte also passed a new tax reform package to help fund infrastructure spending. 

Goals of the infrastructure programme

While infrastructure updates will benefit functionality within the country, the hope is that they will help to eliminate poverty, unemployment and hunger. With basic needs met, people’s lives are drastically changed. And when they are enabled to live beyond that, their quality of life only will continue to get better. Previous administrations have not enacted economic policies that fostered much change in these areas, and this new programme is expected to make significant changes if successful. According to the World Economic Forum, the average per capita GDP in the Philippines is under $3,000 per year. 

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Proper infrastructure fosters growth and job creation, as the movement of goods and people are more efficient, both of which are needed in the Philippines. In Manila, for example, commuting to work requires an average of three hours per day via car or public transport. With proper physical infrastructures, all Filipinos have a better chance to better their lives. Getting a job, whether it be a newly created one or existing, and the possibility of where to work is entirely different when it is physically possible to arrive at more places. 

The Philippine Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow by 6.7 and 2018 and 2019, as estimated by the World Bank. This makes the Philippines South East Asia’s fastest-growing economy. 

Progress on the project is steady. Assistant Secretary Jonathan Uy of the National Economic Development Authority said 9 of the 75 projects are under construction with 2 to be completed soon. An official told lawmakers that by the end of President Duterte’s term in 2022, about 28 projects could be completed