Infrastructure Update: The Great Leap towards Smart Cities in ASEAN

Infrastructure Update | July 19, 2018
Sunita Kapoor, Jack Myint, Hemaa Sekar, and Rocky Intan
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

July 27: NCAPEC Joint Member Briefing

August 2: ASEAN Ambassadors' Golf Tournament

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

The Great Leap towards Smart Cities in ASEAN


 

ASEAN is gearing up for a “Smart City” boom, with several ASEAN cities establishing agreements with business leaders at the inaugural ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) Meeting, held along side the 2018 World Cities Summit at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, on July 8. The ASCN is a new initiative spearheaded by Singapore, keeping with its chairmanship’s themes of resilience and innovation. The initiative has three primary goals: (1) promoting cooperation on smart cities in the region; (2) catalyzing bankable projects through partnership with the private sector in 26 ASEAN cities in the ASCN; and (3) ensuring that the selected cities have adequate funding and support for their respective projects. Singapore Foreign Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan reiterated these objectives at the meeting, and emphasized the potential of technology in mitigating many of the challenges ASEAN countries face. With 90 million more people expected to urbanize by 2030, ASEAN is expected to face more acute problems such as city congestion, water and air quality, security, safety and infrastructural burdens.


 

A McKinsey Global Institute Report on Smart Cities in Southeast Asia echoes Minister Balakrishnan’s message, and details how smart solutions can improve the overall urban quality of life in the region. According to the research, smart solutions could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lessen the number of causalities in accidents, fires and homicides, save a great deal of travel time, increase life expectancies across the region, and add numerous jobs to the labor market, albeit to varying degrees in different ASEAN countries. While many of the ASEAN countries do have the basic building blocks for establishing Smart Cities at hand, such as infrastructure, political will, investment and manpower, their future progress is dependent on the level of infrastructure, type of physical layout, and other factors such as crime rates and travel times.


 

The report also recommended that private businesses keen to be involved in Smart City projects should pay close attention to each ASEAN city’s context, understand each country’s public-sector dynamics at play, commit to small and scalable projects that can be realized, and actively partner with players from other industries to attain tangible success. Private businesses should also note that smart cities could potentially address seven main domains of urban life: (1) Economy; (2) Mobility; (3) Utilities; (4) Community; (5) Built environment; (6) Social infrastructure; (7) Security, and that they can support ASEAN cities by being solutions providers, real estate developers, mobility developers and operators, contractors, infrastructure investors, and principal investors within the respective domains. To learn more about McKinsey’s predictions about ASEAN Smart Cities, recommendations for interested businesses, and a list of “smart” applications that will be especially relevant for cities through 2025, you can access the original report here.


 

The ASCN will finalize the Smart Cities Framework, Action Plans for the various city projects and a list of initial project partnerships at the 33rd ASEAN Summit in November 2018. For more information on the ASCN, you can refer to the notes from the briefing on the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, which was held on June 18, here.


 

Challenges in AIIB’s ASEAN Infrastructure Funding Efforts
 

It goes without saying that China’s role in the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is part of its larger efforts to enhance regional connectivity and a drive by Beijing to take on a bigger role in global affairs. In its annual report, the AIIB highlighted some of the milestones reached in its second year of operation. With membership consisting of 84 countries, the number of approved projects reached 23 and investments in projects and funds reached US$4.22 billion by the end of 2017. It also received AAA ratings from Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard and Poor’s. Yet not all is well with Chinese led infrastructure financing initiatives in 3rd countries. The experience of Sri Lanka serves as a cautionary tale. Saddled with high interest rate payments, it had to surrender the controlling share of the Chinese-financed large, and mostly empty, port of Hambantota to a Chinese company in a debt-to-equity deal. In Southeast Asia Chinese-funded projects have encountered bumpy roads. For instance, Myanmar’s Planning and Finance Minister Soe Win has recommended that the new US$ 7.2 billion Kyauk Phyu port on the Bay of Bengal be “slimmed down” as it is “not recommendable” with the country owing 40 percent of its external debt to China. Second, after the shock election win of the new government, the new Government of Malaysia has halted infrastructure projects worth totaling US$23 billion, including the East Coast Rail Link, a questionable commercially viable project that would carry passengers and freight from the West Coast to the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The new administration in Kuala Lumpur’s position on many of such projects is a result of its pledge to cut excessive spending, review all Chinese projects and its related “unequal treaties”, and to probe potential links to graft with the 1MDB scandal. In Indonesia, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train project has been hit with lawsuits from companies demanding compensation for their properties affected by the project. Previously, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno has said that the high-speed rail project’s target completion has already pushed back from 2019 due to land acquisition problems.


 

IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
China-Asean fund aims to roll out US$3b by early next year
China's Silk Road isn't turning out to be smooth
Smart solutions can help ASEAN cities improve quality-of-life indicators by 10-30%
Southeast Asia Bankers Want Deeper Capital Markets for Projects
Japan reasserts its influence in Asia
HSR project has cost Singapore almost RM745mil so far
In Southeast Asia, Belt and Road Attracts Takers, But Skepticism is Rising
Smart fixes can boost Asean urban life: Report
Smart Cities in SE Asia can deliver real quality of life improvements: report
Smart solutions in Asean cities can improve quality of life for residents: Report
Southeast Asian pipeline demand boosts profit at Japan's AGC
Asean May See Divisions Amid Heightened U.S.-China Competition: Analysts
Moon's Asian visit start of new economic era

Cambodia
Cambodia resumes train service to Thai border

Financial Services
Sarana Multi Infrastruktur issues green bonds and sukuk 

Indonesia
Indonesia starts online business registration with one-hour permit
China, S. Korea show interest in North Sumatra LRT project
Kediri to develop US$347 million airport
Greater Jakarta: Final eight LRT cars arrive in Jakarta
Jokowi inaugurates Kartasura-Sragen road
American investors show interest in Kuala Tanjung Port
Consortium proposes location change for high-speed train tracks
Developer seeks govt funds to continue Trans-Sumatra toll project
Government to build 10 new airports
State-owned operator to sell two more toll roads
Three lawsuits to proceed against Bandung-Jakarta train project
First LRT to be up and running on July 15 in Palembang
Development of LRT stations in final stage

Malaysia
Singapore to seek compensation if rail link cancelled
Malaysia Suspends Three China-Backed Infrastructure Projects
LRT3 cost can be reduced by RM6bil
Malaysia suspends construction of major Belt and Road rail project
Singapore will seek compensation if Malaysia cancels rail plan

Philippines
NEDA seeks continuity in infra dev’t
China-funded Kaliwa dam, LGU surveillance projects seen making progress
DoTr recommends to MIAA award of OPS to NAIA rehab consortium
Build, Build, Build's 'painful' side effects temporary — report
Co-ops emerging as key players for electric-powered Mindanao Railway System
DICT and NEA craft framework to expand national broadband access 
Dalian must pay for fixing 48 MRT cars: DOTr
Despite ‘Build, Build, Build’ push, DPWH spent only a third of 2017 budget
Construction starts on P29-B Cebu bridge
BBB seen to build up government asset base
Revival of Subic Airport pushed
Philippine manufacturing fuels broader economic growth
Subic airport adds to infrastructure push
Regional airport projects hit by delays
More China-funded projects rolled out next year–Amb. Zhao

Singapore
Singapore’s finance sector can support Asian development but risk management also key: Heng Swee Keat
Singapore wants to be broker for Asian infrastructure projects
S’pore to spend over S$300 million on HSR by year-end, Khaw says in urging M’sia to clarify its position
New deals inked to drive Asean smart cities
Fullerton Health partners with Microsoft Singapore
Singapore in talks to bring in Formula E street circuit as early as 2020

Thailand
Thai cabinet backs new tax on property near infrastructure projects
Depa pushes for IoT infrastructure
Opic backs Thai infrastructure plans
Civic groups slam govt over railway plans
Paving the way to a smart city via data and digital technology 
Cashless train tickets launched at major stations

Vietnam
Transport and energy infrastructure key growth drivers in Vietnam
Việt Nam, France agree to cooperate in building smart cities
HCM City approves new residential areas
HCM City gets technology training centre
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

China-Asean fund aims to roll out US$3b by early next year The Edge Markets 16th Jul 2018
After successfully deploying some US$1 billion of capital to infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia over the past eight years, the China-Asean Investment Cooperation Fund (CAF) is aiming to invest another US$3 billion (RM12.15 billion) in the region.

China's Silk Road isn't turning out to be smooth The ASEAN Post 16th Jul 2018
China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is dealing with ever-greater resistance, slowing a momentum that once seemed unstoppable. In fact, some would argue that the BRI is stalled.

Smart solutions can help ASEAN cities improve quality-of-life indicators by 10-30% Enterprise Innovation 12th Jul 2018
Southeast Asia’s future is tied to the fate of its cities. Today the region’s urban areas are home to one-third of its total population but generate more than two-thirds of the region’s GDP. Urbanization is fueling economic growth, but the breakneck pace has left many cities struggling to provide adequate housing, infrastructure, and services to meet the needs of a surging population.

Southeast Asia Bankers Want Deeper Capital Markets for Projects Bloomberg 12th Jul 2018
Southeast Asia must further develop its capital markets to help fund infrastructure projects, bankers say, even as billions of dollars pour in from China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Japan reasserts its influence in Asia The Edge Markets 12th Jul 2018
In Southeast Asia, Japanese companies are also winning the infrastructure race. Not only are they doing more business than Chinese firms among the 10-member Asean nations, they remain the dominant Asian direct foreign investor.

HSR project has cost Singapore almost RM745mil so far The Star 9th Jul 2018
Singapore has already spent more than S$250mil (RM744.2mil) on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project, and is likely to expend another S$40mil (RM119mil) or so by year-end, its transport minister Khaw Boon Wan (pic) revealed in Parliament on Monday (July 9).

In Southeast Asia, Belt and Road Attracts Takers, But Skepticism is Rising Council on Foreign Relations 9th Jul 2018
Since China’s Belt and Road Initiative was formally launched in 2013, Southeast Asia has been one of the major priorities of the infrastructure investment project.

Smart fixes can boost Asean urban life: Report The Straits Times 7th Jul 2018
With South-east Asian cities expanding rapidly, smart solutions could improve the quality of urban life by 10 per cent to 30 per cent, said a report. For example, intelligent traffic lights and emergency response applications could save around 5,000 lives lost each year because of traffic accidents, fires and murders. Smart cities could also allow residents to save up to US$16 billion (S$21.8 billion) annually. For instance, sensors that track electricity usage can lead to savings, as energy can be stored more efficiently.

Smart Cities in SE Asia can deliver real quality of life improvements: report Borneo Post 7th Jul 2018
A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), in collaboration with the Center for Liveable Cities in Singapore, finds that cities in Southeast Asia could use digital solutions to improve some quality-of-life indicators by 10 to 30 per cent.

Smart solutions in Asean cities can improve quality of life for residents: Report The Straits Times 6th Jul 2018
With South-east Asian cities expanding rapidly, smart solutions could improve the quality of urban life by 10 to 30 per cent, said a report. For example, intelligent traffic lights and emergency response applications could save around 5,000 lives lost each year due to traffic accidents, fires, and murders. Smart cities could also allow residents to save up to US$16 billion (S$21.8 billion) annually.

Southeast Asian pipeline demand boosts profit at Japan's AGC Nikkei Asian Review 6th Jul 2018
AGC, the company formerly called Asahi Glass, looks likely to beat its operating profit forecast for the first half of 2018, thanks in part to growth in Southeast Asian chemical sales.

Asean May See Divisions Amid Heightened U.S.-China Competition: Analysts VOA 5th Jul 2018
In the two decades since Asean was formed, it has failed to uphold its original mandate of maintaining cohesion among its members, experts have said. The rise of China, the United States’ uncertain position on the region and instability in its member states have led some scholars to suggest that the 10-member body may be on the verge of breaking up.

Moon's Asian visit start of new economic era The Straits Times 10th Jul 2018
South Korean President Moon Jae-in's trip to India will help create the next largest market for his country, Seoul's Trade Minister said yesterday, calling India the next China for South Korea, Yonhap news agency reported.

Cambodia

Cambodia resumes train service to Thai border Bangkok Post 5th Jul 2018
PHNOM PENH: Cambodia conducted a trial run of a passenger train service from Phnom Penh to the Thai border on Wednesday. "From now on, passengers can travel by train from Phnom Penh to Poipet city for the first time in 45 years," said Sun Chanthol, minister of public works and transportation, referring to a Cambodian border town.

Financial Services

Sarana Multi Infrastruktur issues green bonds and sukuk  The Jakarta Post 10th Jul 2018
State-owned infrastructure financing company PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI) issued on Tuesday green bonds and sukuk, under a shelf registration issuance scheme worth Rp 3 trillion (US$209 million) each.

Indonesia

Indonesia starts online business registration with one-hour permit Nikkei Asian Review 9th Jul 2018
The Indonesian government on Monday launched a new online system for business registration to cut the country's notoriously lengthy bureaucratic procedures in a bid to drive more investment from both domestic and foreign sources.

China, S. Korea show interest in North Sumatra LRT project The Jakarta Post 18th Jul 2018
The North Sumatra government offered a 160-kilometer light rail transit (LRT) project, connecting the provincial capital of Medan to the Lake Toba resort area, to representatives of countries attending the Asia Europe Meeting-Transport Senior Officials Meeting (ASEM-TSOM) in Medan.

Kediri to develop US$347 million airport The Jakarta Post 18th Jul 2018
The Committee for the Acceleration of Priority Infrastructure Delivery (KPPIP) has confirmed that the government will include an airport project in Kediri, East Java, on its list of national strategic projects.

Greater Jakarta: Final eight LRT cars arrive in Jakarta The Jakarta Post 16th Jul 2018
The eight remaining cars for the Kelapa Gading-Velodrome light rapid transit (LRT) route arrived in Jakarta from South Korea on Saturday.

Jokowi inaugurates Kartasura-Sragen road The Jakarta Post 16th Jul 2018
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo inaugurated on Sunday the Kartasura-Sragen toll road, part of the Solo-Ngawi toll road in Central Java.

American investors show interest in Kuala Tanjung Port The Jakarta Post 16th Jul 2018
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) vice president David Bohigian has said that investors from the United States have expressed interest in investing in infrastructure located near North Sumatra's Kuala Tanjung Port, which is scheduled to be inaugurated by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on July 30.

Consortium proposes location change for high-speed train tracks The Jakarta Post 13th Jul 2018
State-owned consortium PT PIlar Sinergi BUMN Indonesia (PSBI) has proposed a change of location for the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train project to the West Java provincial administration.

Developer seeks govt funds to continue Trans-Sumatra toll project The Jakarta Post 12th Jul 2018
State-owned construction company PT Hutama Karya has requested a capital injection of Rp 12.5 trillion (US$868 million) from the government to continue the Trans-Sumatra toll road project.

Government to build 10 new airports The Jakarta Post 12th Jul 2018
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has said that the government plans to develop 10 new airports to support the development of tourism in the country.

State-owned operator to sell two more toll roads The Jakarta Post 11th Jul 2018
PT Waskita Toll Road, a subsidiary of state-owned construction firm PT Waskita Karya, plans to sell two more toll roads after selling three through a private equity scheme (RDPT) in April.

Three lawsuits to proceed against Bandung-Jakarta train project The Jakarta Post 11th Jul 2018
Five companies have filed lawsuits against the Bandung-Jakarta high-speed train project with the Karawang District Court in West Java, demanding a total compensation of Rp 2.02 trillion (US$141 million) for their properties affected by the project, of which three will proceed to court.

First LRT to be up and running on July 15 in Palembang The Jakarta Post 11th Jul 2018
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is scheduled to inaugurate the light rapid transit (LRT) on July 15 in South Sumatra’s capital Palembang, which will cohost the 2018 Asian Games in August.

Development of LRT stations in final stage The Jakarta Post 6th Jul 2018
The progress of the development of six stations for the light rapid transit, (LRT) system, which will connect Rawamangun, East Jakarta, and Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, has entered the final stage, according to LRT Jakarta project director Allan Tandiono.

Malaysia

Singapore to seek compensation if rail link cancelled Bangkok Post 10th Jul 2018
Singapore will seek compensation for all costs incurred if Malaysia cancels a planned multibillion-dollar high-speed railway link between the two countries. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan told parliament yesterday that compensation would be sought under the terms of the 2016 high-speed rail bilateral agreement between Singapore and Malaysia.

Malaysia Suspends Three China-Backed Infrastructure Projects Eurasia Review 6th Jul 2018
Malaysia’s new government said Thursday it was suspending a trio of Chinese-backed rail and pipeline projects in the country, citing concerns over combined costs estimated to run as high as U.S. $23 billion.

LRT3 cost can be reduced by RM6bil Intan Farhana Zainul 10th Jul 2018
PETALING JAYA: The cost of completing the light rail transit line 3 (LRT3) project can be brought down by nearly RM6bil should it go back to the original design, sources say. A source pointed out that additional variation orders by Prasarana Malaysia Bhd due to changes in the original design of the 37km track had caused the cost of the LRT3 project to balloon to RM15bil.

Malaysia suspends construction of major Belt and Road rail project Channel NewsAsia 9th Jul 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: The project owner of Malaysia's US$20 billion East Coast Railway Link has told its main Chinese contractor to suspend work, both companies said on Wednesday (Jul 4), raising uncertainty about the future of part of China's Belt and Road plan. The 688km East Coast Rail Link will connect the South China Sea in the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia with strategic shipping routes in the west and is a major part of China's infrastructure push across Asia and beyond.

Singapore will seek compensation if Malaysia cancels rail plan The Star Online 9th Jul 2018
Singapore will seek compensation for all costs incurred if Malaysia cancels a planned multi billion-dollar high-speed railway link between the two countries. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan told parliament on Monday that compensation would be sought under the terms of the 2016 high-speed rail bilateral agreement between Singapore and Malaysia.

Philippines

NEDA seeks continuity in infra dev’t Business World 18th Jul 2018
THE GOVERNMENT is taking steps to persuade the succeeding administration to carry on stepped-up infrastructure development, even as a looming shift in form of government adds to uncertainties now hounding the economy, the state socioeconomic planner said on Monday. “What we… want to accomplish in this administration is that, with… master plans, long-term projects… the next administrations would continue what have been started,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in discussions with BusinessWorld editors, reporters and researchers in Quezon City. The administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who marks the midpoint of his six-year term next year, plans to spend over P8 trillion on priority infrastructure until 2022, when such disbursements should be equivalent to 7.3% of gross domestic product from a programmed 5.4% in 2017 and 6.3% this year. “We are… concerned with the question of what happens beyond 2022. People are saying ‘baka wala (stepped-up infrastructure development will end) after this administration wala na,’” Rolando G. Tungpalan, undersecretary for Investment Programming at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in the same roundtable session.

China-funded Kaliwa dam, LGU surveillance projects seen making progress Business World 18th Jul 2018
THE GOVERNMENT is readying the procurement of contractors for more China-funded projects this quarter, the Department of Finance (DoF) said. “We have a lot of projects in the pipeline… the next one will be the awarding of the contractor for the Kaliwa Dam [New Centennial Water Source project] that will supply water for the Metro Manila area,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters Tuesday afternoon on the sidelines of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Binondo-Intramuros and the Estrella-Pantaleon bridges granted by China. “And there will be the Safe Philippines project — this is basically with the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) will be probably be bid out within the month… end of July or early August,” he added.

DoTr recommends to MIAA award of OPS to NAIA rehab consortium Business World 18th Jul 2018
THE MANILA International Airport Authority (MIAA) has received a recommendation from the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to accept the unsolicited proposal of the consortium of seven conglomerates to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). “Natanggap ho namin ang letter from DoTr giving us notice to adopt the proposal. Yan po ay dadaan sa Board. Ang Board ay magcoconvene sa Huwebes at yan ay tatalakayin namin sa Board (We have received a letter from the DoTr to adopt the proposal (of the NAIA consortium). That will have to go through the (MIAA) Board. The Board will convene on Thursday to discuss the letter),” MIAA General Manager Ed V. Monreal said in a briefing in Clark on Tuesday. Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said in the same briefing they forwarded the decision drafted by the DoTr Planning Division to MIAA as the primary agency in charge of NAIA.

Build, Build, Build's 'painful' side effects temporary — report philstar.com 17th Jul 2018
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to bring a “golden age” of infrastructure has some “painful side effects” that should be temporary, London-based Capital Economics said. “The big push to update the Philippine’s infrastructure has led to a number of painful side effects, including a worsening external position, a falling currency and an increase in inflation,” Alex Holmes, Asia economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a research note Tuesday. “However, these problems should prove temporary and improving the nation’s woeful infrastructure is desperately needed,” Holmes added.

Co-ops emerging as key players for electric-powered Mindanao Railway System Business World 16th Jul 2018
The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is ready to take on the lead role for coordinating power supply for the planned Mindanao Railway System (MRS), which will have electric trains. MinDA Assistant Secretary Romeo M. Montenegro, in an interview with the media last week, said a mechanism needs to be put in place involving the National Transmission Corp., electric cooperatives, and private distribution companies. “The question is how many municipalities will the train traverse, how many electric co-ops, from whom will the electricity be sourced? That particular issue alone is something that cannot be resolved by itself or by a team of construction people. It will go beyond that, and that is why MinDA comes in to make sure all these broader issues are addressed at the top level,” he said.

DICT and NEA craft framework to expand national broadband access  BusinessMirror 10th Jul 2018
The National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) have agreed to create a technical working group (TWG) that will craft a framework agreement on expanding broadband access to households across the country. The plan is for the government to piggyback on electric cooperatives (ECs) infrastructure in order to provide Internet service in their assigned areas. This is similar to the tripartite agreement signed among the DICT, National Transmission Corp. (Transco) and National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Dalian must pay for fixing 48 MRT cars: DOTr BusinessMirror 9th Jul 2018
WHILE refusing to release the full audit report for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade insisted that the “technical adjustments” for the 48 train cars delivered by CRRC Dalian Co. of China should be shouldered by the supplier. On Sunday Tugade issued a general statement calling on Dalian to pay for the technical adjustments for the light rail vehicles that it delivered to the government, citing an independent audit report released by TUV Rheinland.

Despite ‘Build, Build, Build’ push, DPWH spent only a third of 2017 budget Inquirer.net 8th Jul 2018
The Duterte administration’s infrastructure push continues to be hampered by bureaucratic bottlenecks, as shown by the Department of Public Works and Highways’ use of only a third of its P662.69-billion funding in 2017. Even as the DPWH vastly improved its ability to earmark its budget for various purposes, the Commission on Audit found a slight decline in the agency’s actual spending of the funds. In its 2017 annual audit report, the COA said only P222.66 billion, or 33.6 percent, of the DPWH’s allotment was disbursed “due to the delayed/non-implementation of infrastructure projects.” The year 2017 saw a slight dip from the disbursement rates of 34.14 percent (P185.12 billion of P542.23 billion) and 34.03 percent (P148.23 billion of P435.58 billion) in 2016 and 2015. The utilization of funds declined despite the DPWH incurring more obligations—or contracts, expenditures and other legal liabilities that the government would need to pay for—in 2017. The DPWH managed to obligate P610.93 billion, or 92.19 percent of the P662.69-billion cleared by the Department of Budget and Management in 2017. This was a huge improvement compared to the obligation rates of 77.32 percent (P419.28 billion of P542.23 billion) and 78 percent (P33.975 billion of P435.58 billion) notched in the years 2016 and 2015.

Construction starts on P29-B Cebu bridge Manila Bulletin Business 6th Jul 2018
Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) yesterday started the construction work for Cebu’s third bridge, the P29-billion Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country. The 4-lane toll bridge, which spans 8.5 kilometers and is expected to have an initial traffic of 40,000 vehicles daily, is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between MPTC subsidiary Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corp. (CCLEC) and the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova.

BBB seen to build up government asset base philstar.com 5th Jul 2018
Public construction of infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build (BBB) program may expand the government’s asset base, some of which can later be privatized by future administrations to raise needed funds, according to the Department of Finance (DOF). In a press briefing, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said by constructing some of the country’s infrastructure projects itself, the government would be able to build up its assets.

Revival of Subic Airport pushed philstar.com 5th Jul 2018
The government is seriously looking at reviving the idle Subic Airport and make it operational within the first half of next year to serve as a possible hub for business jets and help decongest the country’s main international gateway. “We are now closely looking at making the Subic Airport operational once again. We are in serious conversations with the Subic authorities. That airport has been idle for so many years and will soon be operational again,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a briefing here. Talks of reviving the airport have been made in the past but nothing has materialized to date.

Philippine manufacturing fuels broader economic growth Business World 5th Jul 2018
Manufacturing has maintained its standing as a key growth driver for the Philippines, with rising domestic consumption and a series of major infrastructure projects lifting expansion in both the sector and broader economy. GDP grew by 6.8% year on year between January and March, according to the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA), building on the 6.7% expansion recorded in 2017.

Subic airport adds to infrastructure push Business World 5th Jul 2018
THE GOVERNMENT is pursuing plans to revive the Subic Bay International Airport before the second quarter of next year, the state Transport chief said in a press briefing on Wednesday where other economic managers reiterated the commitment to push major infrastructure projects despite current delays. Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said that his department has been in “serious talks with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA)… already to buhayin ‘yung airport (revive the airport).” “The way I see it, I think sa tamang panahon magiging operational… siguro hindi aabutin ng first or second quarter next year (it is time to make the airport operational… maybe before the first or second quarter),” Mr. Tugade said in a media briefing in New Clark City in Tarlac. He cited the need to upgrade the airport’s safety equipment as a primary task.

Regional airport projects hit by delays philstar.com 5th Jul 2018
Various airport projects like the planned inauguration of Bohol Panglao International Airport next month and the rehabilitation of the Surigao Airport have been hit with delays, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the inauguration of the Bohol Panglao International Airport that was initially for August has been moved to October.

More China-funded projects rolled out next year–Amb. Zhao BusinessMirror 18th Jul 2018
Filipinos can expect more China-funded infrastructure projects to be rolled out next year, according to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua.

Singapore

Singapore’s finance sector can support Asian development but risk management also key: Heng Swee Keat The Business Times 16th Jul 2018
Singapore is positioned to support the region's development by financing infrastructure and enterprise in Asia, including bringing in private capital, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday.

Singapore wants to be broker for Asian infrastructure projects The Jakarta Post 14th Jul 2018
Singapore is seeking to take up the role as broker for infrastructure projects in Asia by mediating between the interests of investors and countries.

S’pore to spend over S$300 million on HSR by year-end, Khaw says in urging M’sia to clarify its position TODAYonline 9th Jul 2018
The Republic could incur some S$300 million on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) by year-end, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in Parliament on Monday (June 9) as he warned that a “significant” amount of the funds spent would be “completely wasted” if the project was called off. Giving a detailed breakdown of the costs involved for the first time, Mr Khaw said the Government had spent over S$250 million on the project by the end of May this year. The project was first mooted by Malaysia.

New deals inked to drive Asean smart cities The Straits Times 9th Jul 2018
Several Asean cities inked agreements with corporate partners in Singapore yesterday, to gear up to become "smart cities".

Fullerton Health partners with Microsoft Singapore Healthcare Global 5th Jul 2018
Leading APAC healthcare platform, Fullerton Health and Microsoft Asia Pacific have announced a partnership that aims to transform the organisation’s business operations and processes, and its engagement with patients, doctors, and clients for the digital age. Signing a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Microsoft will drive the transformation of Fullerton Health's existing digital infrastructure, as well as introduce intelligent services such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). The partnership also aims to promote innovation within the healthcare sector through the co-creation of scalable solutions.

Singapore in talks to bring in Formula E street circuit as early as 2020 The Straits Times 5th Jul 2018
Who needs Tesla? The fastest electric cars are set to blaze a trail to Singapore as early as 2020 as part of the up-and-coming Formula E circuit. The Singapore Government - yes, the same one that Tesla chief Elon Musk dissed recently for not being "supportive" of electric cars - is in talks with the race owners to bring the high-octane but low-emission sport to the Republic.

Thailand

Thai cabinet backs new tax on property near infrastructure projects Reuters 10th Jul 2018
Thailand’s cabinet has approved a new tax on property that benefits from being located near infrastructure projects such as airports, rail links and expressways, a government official said on Tuesday.

Depa pushes for IoT infrastructure Bangkok Post 9th Jul 2018
The government can influence the development of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in Thailand by supporting it and creating new value, says the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa).

Opic backs Thai infrastructure plans Bangkok Post 17th Jul 2018
The US's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) has voiced its support for Thailand's infrastructure development projects, which help create connectivity in Southeast Asia. Executive vice-president David Bohigian met with Kobsak Pootrakool, the PM's Office Minister, yesterday, saying Opic believes Thailand plays a leading role in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The group looks forward to overseas investment cooperation in the region.

Civic groups slam govt over railway plans Bangkok Post 16th Jul 2018
Civic networks slammed the government Sunday for merging development of areas near the Makkasan railway station into the terms of reference (ToR) for the 200-billion-baht high-speed train megaproject linking the country's main three international airports. Speaking during a seminar on corruption in the state policy on the project, Metha Matkhao, secretary-general of the 1992 May Heroes Relatives Committee, called on the government to amend the ToR as its details served only leading firms due to the project's high value.

Paving the way to a smart city via data and digital technology  The Nation 5th Jul 2018
Today the region’s urban areas are home to one-third of its total population but generate more than two-thirds of the region’s GDP, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), in collaboration with the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore.  Urbanisation is fueling economic growth, but the breakneck pace has left many cities struggling to provide adequate housing, infrastructure, and services to meet the needs of a surging population. While the urban challenges across Southeast Asia have been growing in scope, new technologies that could tackle some of these issues have reached maturity. 

Cashless train tickets launched at major stations Bangkok Post 5th Jul 2018
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has introduced QR Code as an alternative payment method for passengers. Kasikornbank code readers were installed in 56 main stations across the country, 14 of them in Greater Bangkok, including Hua Lampho

Vietnam

Transport and energy infrastructure key growth drivers in Vietnam The Business Times 9th Jul 2018
Vietnam’s economy grew 7.1 per cent in the first half of 2018, mainly driven by industry, construction and services - particularly wholesale and retail, transport, banking and finance, education and healthcare. Industry and construction expanded 9.07 per cent, while services rose 6.9 per cent.

Việt Nam, France agree to cooperate in building smart cities vietnamnews.vn 5th Jul 2018
Việt Nam and France have agreed to work together in urban development and building smart cities, with a focus on exchange of information and expertise in the fields, an official said at a Việt Nam-France Smart and Sustainable City Cooperation Forum held yesterday in HCM City. Trần Vĩnh Tuyến, Vice Chairman of the city People’s Committee, noted that the two countries were celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations and the fifth anniversary of a strategic partnership between Việt Nam and France.

HCM City approves new residential areas vietnamnews.vn 5th Jul 2018
The HCM City People’s Committee has approved an adjusted construction plan at a scale of 1/2000 for the C30 and Trường Thọ complex areas in districts 10, Tân Bình, and Thủ Đức. The C30 complex, which has a total area of nearly 41 ha, is located in districts Tân Bình and 10.

HCM City gets technology training centre vietnamnews.vn 5th Jul 2018
The Saigon Hi-Tech Park in HCM City has set up the Việt Nam-Japan Training and Technology Transfer Centre with assistance from Japanese human resource training companies. Lê Hoài Quốc head manager of SHTP said the centre would train human resources in the use of evolving technologies to meet the needs of the city during the fourth industrial revolution.