DPWH seeks 39% budget boost

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) put forward next year's budget at P287.8 billion, which will be spent mainly to infrastructure and other major development projects.

The proposed budget is 39.3 percent higher than this year's budget of P206.6 billion.

In Tuesday's budget briefing of the DPWH at the House of Representatives, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said that at least 29.5 percent or P63.12 billion of the agency's P287.8 billion proposed budget for next year will go to different areas in Mindanao.

Singson noted that in the budget for Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula will receive P11.81 billion, Northern Mindanao (P18.33 billion), Davao Region (P13.37 billion), Socsksargen (P8.89 billion), and Caraga (P10.36 billion).

"We really need to focus how to optimize Mindanao," said Singson.

Singson said the Mindanao region, which has been lagging behind in investment inflows and trade expansion, will be a key area for logistics development, following the completion of a master plan to upgrade its infrastructure network.

He noted that the P100-billion Mindanao Logistics Network Program aims to reduce logistics costs in the region by, among others, improving linkage roads to key ports and other production areas.

"[Under the program] we implement an initial P16.2 billion (for fiscal year 2011-2014) for the 410 kilometers or 16 road network (local and national roads)," he said.

However, Singson stressed that P106 billion is still needed for the 2,405 kilometers or 24 priority road networks in the region.

He also explained that 23.3 percent of the budget or P49.7 billion has been allotted to Northern Luzon, 20.5 percent or P43.8 billion to Southern Luzon, 17.7 percent or P37.8 billion to Visayas, and 9 percent or P19.2 billion to Metro Manila.

Singson said the Aquino administration plans to raise infrastructure spending to P800 billion in 2016 to implement a comprehensive development strategy that involves building major roads and irrigation projects, upgrading schools and hospitals and launching massive housing projects for informal settlers, all in support of national growth.

He also said that the agency will engage in convergence programs that promote coordination with other government agencies, such as the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Department of Education.

"Our goal is to create an integrated transport system where roads leading to airports, seaports, roro (roll on, roll off) ports, and other transport hubs will be upgraded to national road standards," Singson said.

Meanwhile, the official said that the public-private partnerships (PPPs) are to be intensified to actualize several projects, such as the Cavite-Laguna expressway, of which construction will be opened to public bidding over the next few weeks.

Singson noted that that P35.4-billion 47-kilometers expressway is expected to be completed in 2019.

He added the DPWH's biggest proposed PPP project to date is the 47-kilometer Laguna Lakeshore Expressway dike that is expected to cost P122 billion. It is expected to be completed in 2021.

Another PPP project, he said, is the P14.9 billion 30.7-kilometer Central Luzon Link Expressway Phase I, which is expected to be finished in 2017. (Sunnex)

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