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Department of Finance seeks additional AIIB financial support for Philippine infrastructure projects

An announcement
made by the Department of Finance (DOF) highlighted how Sec Dominguez sought
financial assistance from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for
other big-ticket infrastructure projects emphasising the urgency in developing
the physical and digital infrastructure of the Philippines.

DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has
sought the support of the AIIB in funding other big-ticket infrastructure
projects program following the institution’s approval last year of its first
project in the Philippines in partnership with the World Bank.

Emphasis on the urgency of developing both
the physical and digital infrastructure of the Philippines was done by Sec Dominguez.

He also urged emerging economies in Asia to
hasten the development of a common market across the region and transform
Southeast Asia into a strong base for trade.

During the Asian Infrastructure Forum (AIF)
seminar on “Advancing Together: ASEAN Infrastructure Development”, he said, “A
dynamic regional common market will provide our economies a strong base to
build competitive industries and profitably trade with the rest of the world.
An emergent Southeast Asia will complement the mature economies of East Asia
and the rapidly growing Indian subcontinent.”

The Asian Infrastructure Forum (AIF)
seminar was held at the Experimental Theatre of the National Centre for the
Performing Arts in India.

The first phase of the Metro Manila Flood
Management Project was the first project that the AIIB has committed to
co-finance with the World Bank (WB). This project will be built to improve
flood forecasting, reduce long-term flooding and modernise pumping stations and
build new ones in the National Capital Region and its surrounding areas.

The Philippines has pitched several
projects to the AIIB for possible financing support. Some of them are the Metro
Manila Bus Rapid Transit System Phase 3 from Bonifacio Global City to Ninoy
Aquino International Airport, the Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Coastal Highway in
Camarines Sur, and the Camarines Sur Expressway Project San Fernando-Pili
Section.

The AIIB’s primary goal is to improve
infrastructure in the region. Sec Dominguez said that this “will help stimulate
economic activity in all our economies and help us build inclusive growth for
our people” in the immediate term, and “improve the interconnectivity of the
region’s economies and foster productive exchange” over the longer term.

He added, “The Philippines understands the
urgency of building up our infrastructure base. We subscribe to the objective
of enhancing regional connectivity. We grasp the strategic importance of
developing the Southeast Asian region as a strong base for trade.”

Sec Dominguez said the government projects
public spending on infrastructure is targeted to increase to 7.3% of GDP by
2022.

He explained, “This is the highest
investment in infrastructure in our history and, as a percentage of GDP, possibly
the highest in the region.”

Sec Dominguez said the government has also
been encouraging the private sector to invest in infrastructure, citing as
examples the tollways being operated by the private sector and the expansion of
the international airport in Manila, which will be done through private
investments.

In order to hasten the execution of
projects, the Hybrid Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model is being carried
out. In this model, the government begins the implementation of the projects
and transfers their operation and maintenance to the private sector.

A recent
announcement highlighted the Philippines’ participation in the annual AIIB
Board of Governors Meeting. Sec Dominguez will be representing the country and
will be involved in the discussions in ensuring a sustainable future for Asia
through sound infrastructure investments.

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