Infrastructures: The Key to Competitiveness
The boldness of President Rodrigo Duterte should be addressed especially to the building of more efficient infrastructures, in which the Philippines pitifully lags behind its East Asian neighbors. With the support of a Budget Secretary that is equally bold in macroeconomic terms, we should be able to go beyond the average of 5 percent of GDP spent on infrastructures in the region. Because of our backlog, the Duterte Administration should even consider raising that percentage to 7 percent of GDP, as was suggested by Senator Grace Poe during the presidential campaign. There is great need to accelerate an integrated infrastructure program by focusing on interconnectivity of regions, and from source to market, both nationally and globally. The new Administration should build on what former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo accomplished through the Philippine Nautical Highway. We should interconnect even more some of the major islands, replicating what Imelda Marcos did in building a bridge between Samar and Leyte. Possible candidates are Batangas and Mindoro, Iloilo and Guimaras, Dumaguete and Siquijor, among many others. These bridges can facilitate even more the domestic travel of close to 40 million Filipinos who are among the first tourists in their own land.