By Ben O. de Vera, April 3 2019; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Image Credit to Philippine Star

The Duterte administration has increased to 9,816 the number of priority programs and projects worth P10.9 trillion it intends to roll out within its six-year term to sustain strong economic growth and ultimately slash the poverty rate by 2022.

The latest updated 2017-2022 Public Investment Program (PIP) submitted by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and both houses of Congress on March 28 showed that the number of priority programs and projects was higher than the 582 worth P7.8 trillion as of September 2018.

The smaller number of projects in the September 2018 version of the PIP was because only “major priority” projects with project cost of P1 billion and above were included in the list.

Under the updated PIP as of March, the government wanted to spend P7.4 trillion on 7,807 priority projects that will accelerate infrastructure development, as mandated under the medium-term socioeconomic blueprint Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022.

The investment requirement for infrastructure alone accounted for more than two-thirds of the total investment targets for the six-year period.

For the year 2020, the government is looking to spend more than P1.9 trillion on infrastructure, the bulk of the P2.8-trillion total investment target under the PIP for next year.

To fast-track human capital development, the government plans to invest P1.1 trillion between 2017 and 2022 while it has programmed P609.1 billion on programs and projects aimed at reducing the vulnerability of individuals and families.

The updated 2017-2022 PIP showed that the 818 priority programs and projects with a nationwide scope amounted P6.5 trillion or nearly 60 percent of the total investment targets.

In terms of number of projects, 8,684 worth P2.7 trillion are region-specific, mainly to be hosted in the National Capital Region (900 projects worth P905 billion), Davao region (397 projects worth P331.2 billion), and Central Luzon (498 projects worth P222.3 billion).

Meanwhile, 314 interregional projects amounting to P1.7 trillion will also be rolled out until 2022.

Next year, the government is planning to implement P1.3 trillion in nationwide projects, P953.3 billion in region-specific projects and P531.7 billion in interregional projects.

According to Neda, 9,565 priority programs and projects under the 2017-2022 PIP will be funded by the national budget and implemented through the traditional mode of procurement under Republic Act (RA) No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Official development assistance (ODA) will finance 205 priority projects, while public-private partnership (PPP) and joint ventures will be the source of financing for 46 projects.

The PDP 2017-2022 aims to reduce the number of poor Filipinos to 14 percent of the population by the time President Duterte steps down from office.

The poverty incidence rate stood at 21.6 percent in 2015 and the Duterte administration targets to cut it by more than seven percentage points through its 10-point socioeconomic agenda.