Press Release
October 10, 2011


During today's hearing on the 2012 budget of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Senator Edgardo J. Angara proposed the establishment of a national development fund to finance infrastructure projects throughout the Philippines.

"We should consolidate all sources of income from this sector--from air, water and land transport--and use it to fund local development projects. DOTC's 2012 projects amount to more than P26 billion, which when coupled with about P50 billion of internally generated income from attached GOCC's, will give us a good-sized infrastructure budget," said Angara, Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Fincance.

Angara explained that this unification of government agencies related to transport would ensure that the proposed development projects are in line with national infrastructure plans. He also urged the DOTC to collaborate more closely with the Department of Public Works and Highways on infrastructure development.

"Instead of undertaking separate projects, let us get our act together and fund local development initiatives instead of relying on foreign loans which have such a long gestation period. For example, Japan's foreign aid normally takes years from origination to implementation. Korea's financial aid might be faster but still carries the risk of extending beyond the Aquino administration," he explained.

The veteran lawmaker encouraged DOTC Secretary Manuel Roxas II to push for this measure immediately and assured the secretary of his colleagues' support.

"As the head of the trimodal transport system in the Philippines, you have the right to orchestrate the use and utilization of all that money, and pool it together to create this development fund to ensure the realization of all the infra projects of the Aquino administration. We in Congress are ready to provide support should this measure require special legislation," he said.

"This is will also attract direct investments and address the lack of infrastructure in the country. We currently rank 105th out of 142 countries in terms of infrastructure competitiveness. This directly affects the number of jobs we create, as well as the development of our countryside. We have to be serious about turning this around."

Angara also pledged to uphold the agency's proposed 2012 allocation "not just because Secretary Roxas is a former colleague, but because we need to support infrastructure development measures".

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