Infrastructure was at the center of the discussions during a recently concluded virtual summit named “Roads, Bridges, and Tunnels”.
Important speakers from the government and the private sector contributed to an overall exceptional event that followed up on the current state of the Build, Build, Build agenda and discussed the various bottlenecks and solutions for the slightly afflicted sector. The two-day summit was held on the 16th and 17th September 2021 and featured, among others, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar as well as Ms. Anna Mae Lamentillo, DPWH Build Build Build Committee Chairperson who discussed the progress of the construction projects of DPWH.
The first day saw also Mr. Andres Pizarro, Sector leader, Transport, Infrastructure Development Region 1 Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) discuss the financing of infrastructure while companies like Fosroc Prime Star Global, Bentley, Michigan, Midas, and Phoenix Asphalt Philippines discussed the various applications of their products. The discussion panel that followed included Mr. Greg Smith, Managing Director, Global Programme Director, International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), Ms. Gizelle Mae Lim, Manager – Capital Projects & Infrastructure, PwC Philippines, Mr. Simon Mannion, Senior Tunnel Manager Megawide, and Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director, DOST-PCIEERD.
On the second day, the topics were slightly more colorful with Sec. Berna Romulo-Puyat, Department of Tourism (DOT) who underlined the importance to work on the tourism infrastructure to strengthen the post-pandemic recovery and make sure the Philippines can catch up with some of its neighboring peers. Atty. Maria Dionesia A. Rivera-Guillermo, Head of Legal and Research Division, GPPB listed the legal and practical bottlenecks and solutions for government procurement, especially during these emergency situations and times of calamity.
The most inspiring speaker on that second day was certainly Arch. Romolo Valentino Nati, Chairman & CEO of Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) who explained the “Strategic Importance of Infrastructure for Economic Development and Inclusive Growth in the Philippines”. He made an important example of how infrastructure drives investment decisions even in the case of his company IDC who decided to invest in Cagayan de Oro within Pueblo de Oro Busines Park, a prime infra development in Uptown CdO, dubbed to be the BGC of Northern Mindanao.
The same criteria were used with their Miramonti Residences in Sto Tomas Batangas, where the strategic South Luzon Expressway was one of the main reasons for the investment to develop a 23 story multi-purpose eco-friendly building right at the Sto Tomas exit and within yet another prime infra and business park: the LISP III Business Park. He further stressed that infrastructure connects market stakeholders and communities which, together with real estate development, is the foundation for unlocking economic growth. Architect Nati is a thought leader for sustainable development and green architectural design. During his presentation, he also asserted that infrastructure needs to consider sustainability and go beyond simple functionality.
His own passive green design features that are applied in both Miramonti Residences and Primavera City are a testimony on how natural features can be used to improve the resident’s living environment. To end the second day a very inspired group of panelists discussed Philippine Infrastructure Construction Opportunities and Challenges. Mr. Joey Radovan, Vice Chairman, JLL Philippines, Ar. Maan Shayne Pausanos, Specifications Manager, FOSROC Prime Star Global, Mr. Simon Mannion, Senior Tunnel Manager, Megawide, Mr. Andres Pizarro, Sector leader, Transport, Infrastructure Development Region 1 Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) engaged in a very colorful discussion which ended the event. During these times of uncertainty, it is important to see that infrastructure projects are carried forward as these will be the pillar for future growth. Events like these give hope not only to the related stakeholders but also to those local communities who are ultimately the beneficiaries of the planned projects.