Robredo: Infrastructure program to focus on 3 areas, public-private partnerships

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Robredo: Infrastructure program to focus on 3 areas, public-private partnerships
© Jay Ganzon/OVP VP Leni Robredo visits Swab Cab in Antipolo City, Jan. 17, 2022. Photo by Jay Ganzon/OVP

Vice President Leni Robredo said Friday that if she is elected president on May 9, she will urge more private sector participation in the government’s infrastructure program.

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“We should push for more private-public partnerships because we have seen the amount of good that collaboration with the private sector can produce ‘pag ginagawa ito ng tama (if this is done right),” Robredo said at a virtual forum organized by the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX).

“At the Office of the Vice President, we were able to do so many things despite the limited mandate and resources because of collaboration with the private sector,” she said.

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The vice president said collaboration with the private sector in infrastructure projects will “help conserve government resources” as well as “our borrowing capacity for critical public projects.”

“We will encourage private sector participation in critical PPP (private-public-partnership) projects such as roads, expressways, airports, seaports, water concession projects,” Robredo said.

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The presidential aspirant, meanwhile, said infrastructure will “most definitely remain a priority” once she becomes the country’s chief executive.

“But we must ensure that we are building it in a strategic, impactful manner and not just building for the sake of saying ‘we’re building.’ To this end we will focus our infrastructure policy on three priority areas,” Robredo said.

“The first one is water resources management. The second one is public transport and rural development. And the third one is reconstruction of public infrastructure and housing projects in calamity-stricken areas,” she added.

The vice president explained that the country has been facing water supply problems even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While being prudent in consumption will help, the long-term solution really entails investing in critical infrastructure and ensuring that it is well-maintained,” Robredo said.

“We need to harness available water resources and implement projects for water impounding in the country’s major rivers. There’s already a study of how this should be done,” she said.

She also said that public transport has been a long-standing issue in the country.

“People are stuck in traffic for hours, and private cars still dominate the roads, and our mass transport system remains inefficient, and for me, this is really one key stumbling block to growth,” she said of her second priority area.

“People are wasting so much time inside their vehicles or waiting for rides, wasting valuable time that can otherwise be used more productively. So we must build with a mindset of moving people, rather than just cars. That’s why public transport must be the top of mind in any infrastructure agenda,” she added.

The vice president also mentioned the importance of decongesting key population centers like Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao.

“We should invest in digital infrastructure, especially in the countryside,” she said.

On the third priority area, Robredo said the cycle of devastation and reconstruction following a calamity “has stunted our economic momentum for so long.”

“So, we will build resettlement sites for fully damaged houses in dangerous and climate vulnerable areas and we will provide climate resilient public housing for affected families as permanent resettlements,” she said.

Nuclear power

Robredo said harnessing nuclear power is “definitely on the table” in her administration.

However, she said that the “priority now should be moving away from fossil fuel dependence towards a shift to renewable energy.”

“We should also ensure that energy costs do not hamper our economic trajectory. This is a very contentious issue, it’s on the table,” she said.

“When you talk of nuclear power, we always talk of what are the proper safeguards and technology for safety to minimize environmental impact. These are very crucial as well,” she added.

Tax for the super rich

The vice president also said tax for the “super rich” will “always be on the table.”

“While open to taxing the rich more, I don’t think that should only be the solution that would be given,” Robredo said. — VBL, GMA News

This article Robredo: Infrastructure program to focus on 3 areas, public-private partnerships was originally published in GMA News Online.

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