Government spending for roads, bridges and other public works in 2013 is seen to result in more than 400,000 jobs, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
In the first quarter of the year, disbursements already reached P34.8 billion, which was P16.1 billion or 86 percent higher than the P18.7 billion released by the DPWH during the same period last year.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson told reporters during a news briefing at the department’s Operation Center in Manila on Tuesday that the increase in government spending for various public infrastructure projects translated into more employment opportunities, thus contributing, he said, to continuing economic growth under the Aquino administration.
According to the DPWH, its job-generation projection for 2013 is 420,671. Under this forecast, one job means four months of employment at 22 days per month, or a total of 88 days.
It said it expects that the 180 ongoing projects will continue to provide jobs to the projected number of workers for the entire year, adding that more jobs are also expected to be generated the following year, when more projects are set in motion by January 2014.
“We hope to generate more employment. We are also implementing community roadside maintenance, tapping small community enterprises. Those in the community where the projects are located will be given work. We are set to formalize partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to integrate this to the Conditional Cash-Transfer [CCT] Program,” Singson said. The CCT program aims to curb poverty among the poorest Filipinos.
From a budget of P125.74 billion in 2012, the agency’s budget increased to P169.33 billion this year, allowing the DPWH to implement more infrastructure projects ranging from construction to repair and rehabilitation of roads, bridges and school buildings. For 2014, the DPWH is eyeing a budget of P189 billion.
From January to March 31, 2013, Singson said a total of 6,395 projects worth about P101.13 billion were set in motion. Of this number, 5,749 or 90 percent of the projects have been advertised and 3,975 or 62 percent have been awarded
Of the projects, 5,419 cost P50 million or less, 320 are worth between P50 million and P150 million and 53 cost more than P150 million.
Singson reported that of the 101 active projects in 2012, 59 percent have been completed. This year, he said, there are a total of 180 active projects, and as of the first three months of the year, a total of 8.3 percent have been recorded as “actual accomplishment.”
According to the DPWH chief, the government has saved over P16.3 billion from the conduct of open, transparent and competitive public bidding from July 2010 to the present.
A major convergence program with the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP), he said, is being pursued by the DPWH.
In 2012, the department spent about P8 billion for projects aimed at improving roads leading to tourist destinations. This year, Singson said, the government intends to spend P12 billion and in 2014, P18 billion for the same program.
By 2014, according to the DPWH chief, all tourism infrastructure projects that were set in motion in 2012 will be completed.
He also reported that more private contractors are now joining public bidding, a move that demonstrates the trust and confidence of those in the construction business in the reform initiatives implemented by the DPWH under the Aquino administration.
(Story courtesy of Jonathan L. Mayuga, Business Mirror)