This article was originally published with The Manila Times on August 15, 2019.
The Philippines is indeed in the golden age of its development. Never before have we seen massive initiatives across the entire country to build the infrastructure necessary to progress as a nation.
Our DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) and DoTr (Department of Transportation) are both in high momentum given the all-out support coming from the Build Build Build program of the administration and the booming economy we are enjoying.
In the Pre-Sona Forum held early last month, I take note of DPWH Secretary Mark Villar’s presentation which can be summarized as follows:
The infrastructure initiatives cover key areas such as: 1) disaster mitigation; 2) social and tourism; 3) industry and trade; 4) highways and 5) transportation. We will go through these one by one.
Disaster mitigation. Our country is experiencing an average of about 26 typhoons in a year (excluding other types of calamities such as earthquakes). The government has established an evacuation center development program. It put up 82 evacuation centers in 52 provinces. In addition, the government has also initiated the flood management program wherein 4,536 flood mitigation structures have been completed recently. The approach has transitioned from being reactive to proactive, and perhaps because of the lessons learned from calamities and tragedies in the past, the government has done something to mitigate the risks that oftentimes are brought about by natural calamities we go through yearly.
Social and tourism. The Philippines being a very friendly nation to foreigners and tourists regularly attracts visitors. A total of 961.65 kilometers of tourism roads have been completed, including key road infrastructures in top places such as Bohol, Surigao and Boracay. As of last month, 41 projects have been finished.
Industry and trade. With the country’s GDP at a high of about 6.5 percent (with forecast of as high as 8 percent in the next two years), we are also seeing developments in the industry and trade sectors. A total of about 1,200 kilometers of roads have been completed, with focus on agriculture to ensure farm-to-market accessibility for the citizenry.
Highways. The country being an archipelago requires a lot of road connectivity for accessibility. Key main project here is the Philippine High Standard Highway Network Program (for a total of 1,049.02 kilometers) which links Luzon, Cebu and Davao. There is also the Mindanao Road Development Program to complement this. We also have the Metro Manila Logistics Improvement Program initiative which enabled 12 new bridges to be constructed to help ease congestion we all experience daily.
Transport. This has always been an issue for all motorists and commuters to the point that a national occurrence has been termed for it–carmaggedon. Various complementing transport modes in rail, sea and air are going through infrastructure development. Something to look forward to is the transformation of our Philippine National Railway (PNR).
These initiatives pave the way for two key opportunities that will become very big in the country: first, in logistics given the connectivity and accessibility and second, ecommerce. Considering the profiles of the customers utilizing ecommerce (including Gen Z), it is only but a matter of time before almost everyone will go online to buy something and have it delivered same day, or a day after. Opportunities abound once a nation is fully connected, and this is the promise of development and progress.
Hungry Workhorse is the event chairman and knowledge partner for the upcoming Philippine Infrastructure Summit happening on 27-29 August 2019 at Mariott Hotel Manila. More information at www.infrastructure-asia.com.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is the COO of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm; co-founder of Caucus, Inc. and deputy director of Global Chamber Manila. Her advocacies include data privacy, financial literacy, and nation-building. The author may be reached at email@example.com.