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Duterte okays P738-b infra projects; foreign grants bulk of funds

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday approved nine flagship infrastructure projects that will cost  more than P738.08 billion as part of his administration’s infrastructure program. 

Seven of the projects will cost more than P687.47 billion and will be funded by official development assistance, while the two others will cost about P50.61 billion and will be financed by government funds.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry is aiming to make the Philippines’ ranking in ease of doing business leapfrog to 20th place by 2022, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Tuesday. 

“You know, we are really aiming for the top 20 by 2020. Something like that. Because right now, we’re at 99th,” Lopez told reporters in a chance interview in Malacañang. 

President Rodrigo Duterte

“There is an improvement, but we will see first where will we land.” 

While the Philippines climbed by four notches to 99 in the World Bank-International Finance Corporation Doing Business 2017 report, reflecting a better standing from 103 in the 2016 rankings, Lopez said they were doing everything to increase the country’s competitiveness. 

Those include automating business registration through mobile phones and making it more accessible to possible business investors. 

“We’re in discussion right now which we will launch soon that will really try to automate everything,” Lopez said. 

“After streamlining the procedure, [we’re] making registration very easy even from mobile phones, especially for the millennials who are getting into business. They could simply use mobile phones to register.

“That’s what we’re trying to work out. If this works, then in less than one day [you can open a business], and I think we can be in the top 20.”

Lopez earlier said their current efforts were now focused on reducing the number of days in renewing or getting a business permit to one from two to three.

Among the nine projects approved were the Mega Manila Subway Project-Phase One (P230 billion), Philippine National Railways’ Long-haul from Calamba to Bicol (P151 billion) and the Malolos-Clark Airport-Clark Green City Rail (P150 billion).

Also approved were the PNR South Commuter Line from Tutuban to Los Baños (P134 billion, which will be financed by ODA along with the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam project (P10.86 billion), the Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management project (P8.92 billion) and the Chico River Pump Irrigation project (P2.69 billion).

The Mindanao Railway project Tagum-Davao-Digos segment (P35.26 billion) and the Clark International Airport New Terminal Building project (P15.35 billion) will be funded by public funds.

Topics: President Rodrigo Duterte , infrastructure projects , foreign grants , development assistance , Department of Trade and Industry , Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
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