Constructers ‘hopeful’ about new admin

HOPEFUL, instead of confident, is how the country’s industry players perceive the future of the country’s construction industry under the leadership of presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte.

Philippine Constructors Association (PCA) president Dante Abando said the next two to three years will be busy years for the industry, as most of the ongoing projects are scheduled for completion over a short-term period. However, starting 2019 onwards, the picture seems uncertain.

“Currently, we don’t see any negative implication with respect to construction activities, as current projects would need two to three years to go online,” said Abando, in a press conference for PhilConstruct Visayas 2016 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel.

Philconstruct Events, Exhibitions, and Conferences Corp. (PEECC) general manager Manolito Madrasto said local and foreign businessmen are adopting a wait-and-see attitude on their future investments in the Philippines. The first 100 days of Duterte as president will be a deciding factor.

Moreover, the constructers noted that the future of the industry will depend on the economic plans that the Duterte administration will adopt in the next six years.

But recent statements from Duterte’s camp have been about continuing the macroeconomic policies of the Aquino administration, which gave players in the construction industry reason to hope.

Madrasto also particularly commended the eight-point agenda of Duterte, including the acceleration of infrastructure spending by addressing major bottlenecks and maintaining the target of setting aside five percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to infrastructure projects.

“We are not confident, but hopeful. We look forward to the infrastructure thrust of the government thereby improving invesments on the part of the private sector that would result in investmnents in real estate and other industries,” the PCA president said.

“The pronouncements of the presumptive president and his eight-point agenda could take us forward to better times,” Madrasto added.

PCA, quoting the Department of Budget and Management, said the country’s spending for infrastructure has grown significantly over the past five years, jumping from P165 billion in 2010 to P760 billion in 2016. The infrastructure program for this year makes up five percent of the Philippine GDP.

The biggest construction show in the Visayas, Philconstruct Visayas, will give construction players, businessmen and engineers access to the latest technology and services in the field, said Madrasto, as he encouraged industry players to level up and be more competitive in the face of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

The event will be held on June 2 to 4 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel. The event, already on its seventh year, is organized by PCA, Cebu Contractors Association (CCA) and the PEECC.

The activity is also in line with the Cebu Business Month (CBM) activities of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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