Top 4 Key Infrastructure Challenges the 2023-2028 Philippine Development Seeks to Solve

Feliz Grace Bueno     February 16, 2023

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Top 4 Key Infrastructure Challenges the 2023-2028 Philippine Development Seeks to Solve

The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 is the road map for economic recovery and transformation. Last January 31, 2023, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. signed an executive order approving the 6-year development plan.

 

PDP 2023-2028: What Are We Trying to Achieve?

 

The PDP 2023-2028 plans to solve current national problems to improve the condition of the country. Under EO no. 14, the PDP 2023- 2028 aims to “bring back the country to a high-growth trajectory and, more importantly, enable economic and social transformation for a prosperous, inclusive, and resilient society.”

 

The administration aims to increase GDP growth to 6-7% this year, and 6.5%-8% from 2024 to 2028. This will also coincide with the plan to lower the unemployment rate to 4%-5% by 2028.

 

To make all of these possible, the government plans to expand its infrastructure. However, there are 4 key infrastructure challenges that may hinder government efforts.

 

Top 4 Key Infrastructure Challenges the 2023-2028 Philippine Development Seeks to Solve

 

Infrastructure is critical for the future development of the Philippines. Having adequate, safe, resilient, and high-quality infrastructure will help make all their plans possible logistically and much more efficiently. To support these efforts, the government aims to spend 5.2% of GDP on infrastructure this year; 5.1% in 2024; 5% in 2025 and 2026; and 5.4% in 2027.

 

But to successfully expand and upgrade our infrastructure, there are key problems they must solve, such as:

 

Connectivity

 

Transportation is one of the biggest infrastructure hurdles facing the country today. Currently, there is a shortage in public transport supply because of inadequate transport facilities, which caused agonizingly long queues in vital terminals. A great example of this is that our railways are inadequate to meet the growing ridership post-pandemic. Furthermore, the PDP explained that should the trend of increasing demand continue, all existing railway networks will not be adequate for all riders.

 

Some of the other concerns highlighted by the PDP include:

 

  • Transport facilities are deemed inaccessible and unsafe, especially for vulnerable groups.
  • Use of active transportation is still not popular
  • Shortage of road-based public transportation in urban areas
  • Road traffic fatalities are increasing
  • Maritime infrastructure issues remain
  • There are no operational cargo and/or freight rail services in the country
  • Civil works and utility installation along roads are not coordinated
  • Automated logistics processes are not yet integrated
  • Movement of information through digital infrastructure is still not enough
  • Climate change is not systematically integrated in planning, design, operation, and maintenance

 

Fortunately, the government has started to address these issues. There are ongoing infrastructure projects, such as the MRT-7 to address the inadequacies of rail transportation. On top of that, DPWH Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan stated that the government plans to expand the high-standard highways by 700 km more through public-private partnerships.

 

NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan stated in a BusinessWorld ambush interview that they are “in the process of finalizing the long list (of proposed infrastructure projects).” We are reviewing the submissions in the context of their responsiveness to the PDP. Out of this Philippine Infrastructure Program, it will be quite long because we have so many development needs and requirements,” Secretary Balisacan added.

 

Water Resources

 

It is no secret that there is an impending water shortage crisis in the country. The 2023-2028 PDP highlights the following issues that cause a problem for the Philippines’ water supply:

 

  • The country has limited water resources
  • Universal access to safe, affordable, and sustainable water supply and sanitation services has yet to be achieved
  • Irrigation service provision remains inefficient and wasteful
  • The country is highly vulnerable to water-related hazards

 

Water supply is one of the most important things that can sustain life, economy, and progress in the country. We could suffer dire consequences if there is an inadequate water supply.  

 

Energy

 

The 2023-2028 PDP indicates that affordability, accessibility, and reliability are the three aspects of energy security. The following problems will hinder energy security if not addressed properly and immediately:

 

  • The Philippines, historically, has one of the highest electricity prices in the Asian region.
  • As a net importer of energy, the Philippines is highly susceptible to volatility in the prices of fuel in the international market.
  • Power supply is limited, and per capita consumption is low
  • Shocks brought changes in supply and demand patterns
  • Restrictions on foreign ownership of inexhaustible energy projects have been relaxed
  • Grid congestion continues to hamper the reliability of the energy supply
  • Total electrification is yet to be achieved
  • Many ECs are ailing financially
  • Delays in the processing and approval of energy projects unnecessarily increased the cost of doing business.

 

An energy crisis will be the effect if these issues will not be solved in time. According to the International Energy Agency, an energy crisis will cause higher energy prices, higher inflation, the shutdown of factories, slowed economic growth, and poverty.

 

Social Infrastructure

 

Issues with social infrastructure may also hinder the economic progress of the country. With that said, the following issues threaten the stability of the Philippines’ social infrastructure:

 

  • The state of the Philippine health infrastructure has to catch up with globally accepted standards
  • Poor implementation and disasters resulted in the weak delivery and inefficient use of education facilities
  • Solid waste management (SWM) facilities remain inadequate to cope with the increasing rate of waste generation, especially in urban areas.

 

The lack of proper access to social infrastructure can leave people unhealthy, malnourished, poorly and educated. On top of that, natural hazards can instantly turn into disasters.

 

 

After years of socio-economic downturns, the Philippines is slowly getting its footing back. There may be many challenges ahead of us but there are possible solutions to them found in the Philippine Development Plan 2023.

 

References:

 

  • National Economic Development Authority. (n.d.). Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. Philippine Development Plan. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from https://pdp.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/PDP-2023-2028.pdf
  • Galvez, D. (2023, January 31). Marcos Jr. signs Philippine Development Plan for 2023-2028 | Inquirer News. INQUIRER.net. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1722904/marcos-signs-philippine-development-plan-for-2023-2028
  • (2023, January 30). Marcos signs EO adopting dev’t plan. BusinessWorld Online. https://www.bworldonline.com/top-stories/2023/01/31/501924/marcos-signs-eo-adopting-devt-plan/
  •  NG to raise public infraspend to 6% of GDP by 2028, per PDP | Cai U. Ordinario. (2023, January 3). BusinessMirror. https://businessmirror.com.ph/2023/01/04/ng-to-raise-public-infraspend-to-6-of-gdp-by-2028-per-pdp/

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