If Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez is to be believed, the Duterte administration's Build, Build, Build (BBB) infrastructure program has already created as many as 100,000 jobs and paid out P17 billion in salaries in the construction industry in the first five months of this year.
The government has spent a total of P281 billion on infrastructure projects in the first five months of the year, 42 percent more than what it spent in the same period last year.
Here's how he got this figure: "If you figure P281 billion in infrastructure every month from January to May, we have spent about P56 billion. If 30 percent of that is in salaries, our injection into the economy is about P17 billion a month.”
The construction boom is in fact allowing additional income for construction workers and those selling construction materials.
Among the ongoing construction is the New Clark City project
that is envisioned to create a new growth corridor in Central Luzon and outlying provinces.
The public expenditures are on top of private sector-led construction and public sector projects financed through the public-private partnership (PPP) program, a package of major infrastructure projects that have strategic impact on the economy.
Government funding in infrastructure would have a great impact on the country’s investment growth and job generation, stimulating economic expansion to realize a 7-percent gross domestic product growth rate per year—which would in turn lead to significant poverty reduction in the years ahead.
With the government poised to spend between P8 and P9 trillion in infrastructure over the medium term, we can expect more investments to come from abroad and from domestic sources.
One of the obtacles cited by the business sector for their hesitance in putting up new industries and expanding existing ones is the poor infrastructure. As an archiepelagic country with more than 7,000 islands for instance, we need to link up most if not all of them with roads and bridges, airports and seaports. All that entails huge costs that we hope government would be able to raise from taxes, loans from abroad and other sources, if we want to accelerate our over-all economic development.