On July 25, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took the podium at the Batasang Pambasa in Commonwealth Avenue and gave a 1 hour and 10 minute-long State of the Nation address. The event took just a little shorter than his first SONA, in which the head of state gave the entire nation a report on the country’s current condition, achievements, challenges, and plans for the future.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. highlighted many of his administration’s achievements from the previous year, as well as the priority undertakings expected to be completed or started within his 6-year term. Part of the priorities that Marcos mentioned in his second SONA is the development of the country’s infrastructures, emphasizing the importance of this goal in transforming the Philippines’ economy and making it into an international investment hub for both local and foreign investors.
The Current State of the Philippines’ Infrastructure Sector
Image from GMA
Regarding the local infrastructure sector, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has stated his clearest intentions in improving major existing facilities, continuing infrastructure projects that were already in progress during the shift in the presidency, and developing more projects that will ultimately benefit the local economy.
During the address, the president highlighted many of the infrastructure projects that are currently underway, including all 194 NEDA-approved projects under the Build, Better, More program. Marcos also mentioned the improvement of the country’s road network as one of the top priorities of his administration’s infrastructure program, citing that his ultimate goal is to physically connect all three major islands of the Philippines, which he predicts will be one of the driving power that will bolster the country’s economy forward.
“Our road network plans must link not only our 3 major islands, but all prospective sites of economic development,” Marcos stated.
He went on to showcase numerous infrastructure projects under the Build, Better, More program such as the Luzon Spine Expressway Network, which will decrease the travel time from Ilocos to Bicol from 20 hours to just 9 hours. The Mega-Bridge Program was also mentioned, which is one of the current administration’s most daring proposals which aims to connect islands and areas separated by waters.
Image from Rappler
Although there were no specific plans on how these projects will be completed, Marcos and his numerous friends, family members and allies who has secured a seat in the government successfully passed the then Maharlika Wealth Fund bill into law as the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) just a few days before his second SONA. Marcos claims that the future of the Philippines’ economy lies in the development of the country’s infrastructure sector.
“The Fund shall be used to make high-impact and profitable investments, such as the Build-Better-More program. The gains from the Fund shall be reinvested into the country’s economic well-being,” Marcos said.
The country’s first-ever sovereign investment fund was already projected to provide the finances needed to complete some projects under the BBM program. In fact, the NEDA board announced the fund to finance some projects even before it was signed into law. Renewable energy, power grids, and infrastructures to improve the country’s internet connectivity are a few more projects that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has mentioned in this address.
The Future of the Philippine Infrastructure Sector
During President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s second SONA, he highlighted his administration’s achievements in developing local infrastructure, including the 194 projects under the Build, Better, More program, 123 of which are new. Marcos has expressed his clear brief that the country’s economy heavily relies on the development of the local infrastructure sector. With this in mind, the country can expect more infrastructure development that will not only benefit the local infrastructure industry but also the country’s economy.
- Aristophere, K., & Atienza, T. (2023, July 23). Marcos needs to detail plan to boost revenues in his second SONA. BusinessWorld Online. Retrieved July 25, 2023, from https://www.bworldonline.com/top-stories/2023/07/24/535490/marcos-needs-to-detail-plan-to-boost-revenues-in-his-second-sona/
- Manila Bulletin. (2022, August 30). Marcos cites infrastructure gains, plans under ‘Build, Better, More’ program. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved July 25, 2023, from https://mb.com.ph/2023/7/24/marcos-cites-infrastructure-gains-plans-under-bbm-program
- Rappler. (2023, July 24). FULL LIST: Marcos’ priority bills in second year of office. Rappler. Retrieved July 25, 2023, from https://www.rappler.com/nation/full-list-marcos-priority-bills-second-year-office-sona-2023/
- Rappler. (2023, July 24). SONA 2023 HIGHLIGHTS: Summary of Marcos’ 2nd State of the Nation Address. Rappler. Retrieved July 25, 2023, from https://www.rappler.com/nation/sona-2023-highlights-summary-of-marcos-2nd-state-of-the-nation-address/