The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) held a public webinar on February 16, 2023 from 2:00 to 4:30 pm, via Zoom.
This virtual event featured the PIDS study “Road and Rail Transport Infrastructure in the Philippines: Current State, Issues, and Challenges” authored by PIDS Senior Research Fellow Adoracion Navarro and Research Analyst Jokkaz Latigar. Based on the analysis, the Philippines continues to suffer from inadequate and poor-quality road and rail transport infrastructure. The Philippines is behind its neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region in most quality and quantity metrics. Many of the targets in the Philippine Development Plan, the Public Investment Program, and the expenditure program were unmet. A glaring implementation issue is the low absorptive capacity of the major agencies in charge of the road and rail transport sector. Digging deeper, the study found that the persistent problems are right-of-way acquisition, financing, political intervention, weak capacity at the local government level, natural calamities, and project management issues. There were also newly introduced problems. One is the adverse effects of the pandemic on the materials and workforce supply chain, but systems for addressing these are already in place, and implementing agencies just need to continue improving the implementation of procedures that were revised in response to the pandemic. Another newly introduced problem is the difficulty of implementing projects under the “for later release” funds category that is related to Congress-introduced new budget items or budget increases. The public is also caught in the battle of wills between two major influences—the legislators and the sitting President—on budget allocation, releases, and implementation. Suggested recommendations at the national level include seeking reform champions for minimizing the Congressional introductions and fast-tracking executive approvals. At the regional level, one solution is for government officials to strengthen project identification and prioritization through the Regional Development Council processes.
An e-copy of the full study is available at the following link: Road and Rail Transport Infrastructure in the Philippines: Current State, Issues, and Challenges
Presentation of Dr. Adoracion Navarro, Senior Research Fellow, and Jokkaz Latigar, Research Analyst, Philippine Institute for Development Studies
Presentation of Assistant Secretary Leonel Cray P. de Velez, Department of Transportation
Presentation of Engr. Ernesto V. Alday Jr., Department of Public Works and Highways
Presentation of Dr. Robert Y. Siy Jr., Move as One Coalition