May 2, 2017 6:47 am JST

Philippines opens wallet wide for public works

Nation's first subway the crown jewel of $70bn-plus push

JUN ENDO, Nikkei staff writer

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte © Reuters

MANILA -- The Philippines is planning 3.6 trillion pesos ($71.8 billion) in infrastructure projects over three years in hopes of strengthening transportation systems and boosting growth.

Transportation-related work accounts for more than 60% of the spending. The plan as a whole is seen creating jobs for over 1 million people each year.

The flagship project will build the country's first subway system in Metro Manila. The government hopes to receive official development assistance from Japan for the project and aims to sign a deal in November.

Other major plans include constructing a roughly 600km rail link extending southeast from Manila, as well as expanding regional airports.

The Philippines aims to accelerate economic growth to 7-8% and reduce the poverty rate to 14% under a six-year development plan.

About 860 billion pesos, or 5.4%, of the 2017 budget will go toward infrastructure development, with plans to eventually raise the percentage to 7.4% in 2022. The government is counting on foreign assistance to cover what it cannot.

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