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Spain’s Acciona keen on more water, transportation projects

SPANISH infrastructure company Acciona aims to secure more contracts from the government’s transportation and water treatment projects, its regional official said.

“Yes, definitely, we are looking at transportation rails and the big transportation projects that will be launched by the administration of the Philippines,” Acciona Southeast Asia Regional Director Ruben Camba told BusinessWorld.

“We are also looking at water projects. There are different water projects happening in Manila and the rest of the country and we think that water is very important to the Philippines,” he said.

He added that Acciona is “very keen” to see more public-private partnership (PPP) projects in the market, which he said is another target for the company to explore.

When asked if the company is interested in the Metro Rail Transit lines 10 and 11, Mr. Camba said: “Yes. We are really interested in looking at railways. When we say transportation, we mean roads, bridges, railways, ports. So those are key points that we will be looking at.”

At present, the company has been awarded three transportation projects and one water treatment project. These projects are package 2 of the South Commuter Railway (SCR) project, the Cebu cable-stayed bridge, the Malolos-Clark Railway project, and the Putatan II brackish water treatment plant.

Meanwhile, the company is targeting the groundbreaking for the 7.9-kilometer elevated railway from Blumentritt to San Andres Bukid in Manila that has three stations — España, Sta. Mesa, and Paco — of the SCR.

“I think the groundbreaking will be definitely this year,” Mr. Camba said.

Assuming that everything will be ironed out, including the acquisition of the right of way, the project could be completed in four years, he said.

The package was awarded to the joint venture between Acciona Construction Philippines, Inc. and D.M. Consunji, Inc.

Meanwhile, Mr. Camba said that public-private partnerships and support from the government and multilateral banks could further boost the infrastructure sector.

“The drivers have to be government investments supported many times by multilateral banks and the PPP working altogether,” he said.

He noted that the government is cautious about managing the ratio of its debt to the gross domestic product (GDP), while the private sector invests only in projects suitable to them.

“If you want to meet the targets of development, you need to invest at least 5% to 6% of the total GDP [to infrastructure development],” he said.

Mr. Camba said the private sector could not cover the entire infrastructure spending, with only a portion of it under PPP projects.

“The rest will be government efforts to develop the country’s infrastructure. And that’s what other countries do,” he said.

He said that Acciona has a bullish outlook on the infrastructure market in the Philippines.

“I think there’s a lot of work and we’ll need to overcome the challenges,” he said. “If you see how the Philippines has dramatically invested in it, that’s very positive news.”

“If the past administration and this administration will be keeping that pace and if we will see continuous effort, the Philippines in 2040 is going to be dramatically different to the Philippines in 2020,” he said.

“We are very bullish. We want to be here helping the country in doing the infrastructure,” he added.

On Friday, Acciona and more than 200 public and private sector leaders gathered for the company’s first “Health and Safety Day” in the Philippines, which aims to promote the prevention of occupational accidents, diseases and deaths.

“What we will try is to show new technologies and ways of managing safety. The overarching idea is to have a safe environment at work,” Mr. Camba said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

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