By Joe Zaldarriaga

Strengthen public-private partnerships to boost infra dev’t

December 6, 2022, 3:33 pm

Cooperation between the government and private sectors has long been integral in the country’s economic development with the various infrastructure projects under public-private partnerships (PPP) already operational and beneficial to the Filipino people.

One of the oldest infrastructures built under PPP was the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), an 84-kilometer road infrastructure connecting Metro Manila to the northern portion of the Philippines. According to its operator NLEX Corp., the expressway currently services 278,000 motorists daily.

Having been in service for decades now, the 5.3-kilometer north and south viaducts of the project crossing the swampland in Candaba, Pampanga are currently up for retrofitting due to safety concerns amid the volume of traffic and large trucks crossing the viaduct.

At a recently held House committee meeting chaired by Deputy Speaker and 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, NLEX Corp. officials led by lawyer Romulo Quimbo Jr. said that the company would shell out PHP8 billion for the construction of a third highway that would be built between the two existing northbound and southbound viaducts.

The construction will add one and a half lanes per direction to cater to the cargo trucks and heavy vehicles. Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2023 while completion is set by the end of 2024.

NLEX Corp. said it would implement a traffic scheme to avoid inconvenience and disruptions on the part of the motorists and commuters.

Concerned government agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DOTr), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) expressed support for the planned new roadway.

Apart from the new viaduct, five local bridges that will cross the expressway are also expected to be constructed with the help of the DPWH, to provide easier and faster access to NLEX.

Once completed, the new highway would ensure the integrity and safety of the expressway, ultimately for the welfare of the motorists and the commuting public.

In our heavily challenged economy, the Marcos administration is banking on the development of more infrastructure projects as the long-term solution to decongesting heavy traffic and provide a better quality of life to the Filipinos.

With the ramped-up infrastructure program, cooperation of the private sector must be strengthened through more PPP programs as they generally execute faster than those funded by foreign loans.

The private sector is our frontliner for economic development, besides playing a huge role in nation building. They drive growth, generate jobs, and contribute to tax revenues that fund services and investment for our people.

In developing countries, the private sector generates 90 percent of jobs, funds 60 percent of all investments and provides more than 80 percent of the country’s revenues.

As the Philippines recovers from the effects of the pandemic, the private sector will remain the engine of economic growth, and tapping their help is more than just our token of appreciation for their role in economic development.

To boost their business confidence is also to lure more foreign investments in the country, especially if coupled with government support such as concrete decisions, stronger policies to promote growth, giving incentives to ensure that they can thrive, and sustaining institutions that implement, oversee and regulate these policies as this is the enabling environment that encourage businesses to invest further. 

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Office of the Press Secretary. 


About the Columnist

Image of Joe Zaldarriaga

Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.

Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.