DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 Nov) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will get a share of the $6-billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) from China by investing on big irrigation projects, according to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.
The finance secretary briefed reporters at the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday that the major big irrigation projects are what they have lined up so far for financing, along with other infrastructure projects that will uplift the living conditions of the Filipino people as part of the Duterte administration’s thrust.
He said most of the projects will be centered on countryside development, more specifically new roads, railways, and ports to decongest major cities and to reduce logistics cost for the basic goods.
Dominguez said that they would like to turn their focus on the ARMM, which suffered a low Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of P26,000 as compared to P400,000 in Metro Manila.
“So, that’s why we have problems there. We have problems of poverty. We have problems of rebellion. We have problems – and because there is no infrastructure. So we want to put more irrigation there, more roads so that people can be more interconnected. So this gap has to be closed. And that is why the thrust of the President is really to raise people out of poverty. And I think that’s what he’s doing,” he said.
Dominguez added they are still contemplating on what other projects they could fund using the ODA but he pointed out that they will also set aside a budget for Manila to Bicol railway project
He said that the government will increase public spending over the next six years to improve the country’s growth performance to close the “infrastructure gap,” more specifically in the countryside in a bid to generate more jobs for the people.
“You know, the amount of infrastructure that we need in the Philippines is really tremendous. You just go outside of Metro Manila, you see the condition of the roads, the bridges, the ports, the airports there, power, telecommunications. These are all infrastructure. This is to connect the country together physically so that goods can flow physically so that cost will go down,” he said.
Aside from the transport sector, Dominguez added that the energy sector is also a key area that needs more investments. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)