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Better infrastructure to reduce traffic

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Published on Sunday, 07 July 2013 19:03 Written by Atty. Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II

A RECENT report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) suggests that the Philippines loses an estimated P2.4 billion a day in potential income due to traffic congestion that consumes hours that could have been used more productively.

It was recommended that infrastructure be beefed up to handle the congestion. This includes rehabilitating and building more roads, bridges, airports, seaports and railways. This is already a priority of the Aquino administration.

According to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, the government has asked the Jica to assist in creating a transportation development road map for the country.

The Philippines spends only about 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on public infrastructure, compared to the average 5 percent spent by other Southeast Asian countries.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said last week the government intends to gradually increase its allocation for infrastructure to 5 percent of GDP, from P400 billion in 2012 to P800 billion by 2016.

From January to May, public-infrastructure spending increased by 35.6 percent year-on-year to P104.6 billion, or 2.6 percent of estimated GDP for the period.

To support the maximization of spending on public infrastructure, Abad said the government will implement streamlined procedures, such as faster and easier payment processes for suppliers. The Department of Public Works and Highways has also been tasked to take over the supervision of infrastructure projects of other government agencies in order to speed up their completion, such as health facilities for the Department of Health.

This policy to enhance public infrastructure will not only alleviate traffic congestion later on, but also take into account flood-control measures and other urban-development and management concerns.

It also offers greater business opportunities for contractors and suppliers of construction materials, among others, and jobs for workers in construction and related industries.

* * *

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) recently released checks to several government agencies as “mandatory contributions” provided for in various laws that allocate funding for their operations and other requirements from the charity agency.

On July 2 I handed a P10-million check to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Executive Director Guillermo Iroy Jr. that was witnessed by Philippine Olympic Committee Chairman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr.

The PCSO has been supporting sports and development programs since its creation in 1934. The agency was the main source of funding for the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation until it was transformed into the PSC.

From 1997 to 2010, the PCSO has given the PSC P241,480,730 to support Filipino athletes in various activities, including three Olympic Games, four Asian Games and seven Southeast Asian Games, where the Philippines was overall champion in 2005.

Also on July 2 the PCSO released a P20-million check for the Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program. The check was received in their behalf by Nora Palad of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

On July 5 Gemma Bermudes of the National Book Development Board received a P10-million check.

Also ready to be released are the PCSO’s mandatory contributions to five other agencies: P5 million for the Department of Justice’s Juvenile Justice and Welfare program, P25 million for the National Museum, P15 million for the National Council for Children’s Television and P50 million for the Commission on Higher Education.

A P8.5-million check for the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center’s purchase of ultrasound equipment is also ready to be released.

The PCSO’s revenues from lottery and other games are, by law, allotted as follows: 55 percent for prizes, 15 percent for agency operations and 30 percent for the Charity Fund, from which funding for medical and health care-related assistance, as well as mandatory contributions, are taken.

In 2012 P4 billion, or roughly half of the total P8.11-billion Charity Fund, went to mandatory contributions.

_____

Taken from Business Mirror: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/opinion/16081-better-infrastructure-to-reduce-traffic

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