ADRi Event: “The Geopolitics of Infrastructure: Opportunities and Challenges for the Philippines and the Indo-Pacific”

The growing political and economic importance of the Indo-Pacific has prompted major powers to increase their footprint by engaging in various partnerships and modes of economic cooperation in the region, such as in the infrastructure space. Gaps in infrastructure present opportunities for cooperation among states while also demonstrating certain challenges in foreign policy.

Competition in the infrastructure sector is expected to increase with the US’ Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative which aims to challenge China’s global infrastructure development scheme. The B3W initiative intends to provide an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Additionally, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework’s (IPEF) pillar on ‘clean economy’ prioritizes infrastructure development by investing in sustainable and resilient infrastructure projects to build the capacities of their less developed partners.

In the case of the Philippines, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr has identified the infrastructure sector as one of his administration’s priorities. Capitalizing on his predecessor’s infrastructure program and as part of his 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda, the President launched the ‘Build, Better, More’ (BBM) Program with the aim of expanding the country’s connectivity through the construction of roads, highways, and airports among others.

In this context, there is a need for the Philippines to capitalize on the rise of regional infrastructure initiatives, such as the B3W and BRI, to address existing gaps and further develop its infrastructure sector while safeguarding itself from potential security risks. Participation in these global infrastructure projects requires proper examination of their risks, benefits, and impact on the current geopolitical dimension of the Indo-Pacific.

Through this event, the Institute seeks to provide a platform for experts and scholars to share their assessments and recommendations on the current infrastructure landscape in the Philippines and how the country can maximize opportunities through engagements with key allies and partners.


Welcoming Remarks
Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit
President, Stratbase ADR Institute

Inter-Governmental Partnerships: Risks and Opportunities
Usec. Mark Steven C. Pastor
Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure, Department of Transportation (DOTr)

Bridging the Infrastructure Gap in the Philippines
Ms. Cosette V. Canilao
President and CEO, Aboitiz InfraCapital;
Former Executive Director, Public-Private Partnership Center

Advancing Infrastructure Connectivity through Public-Private Partnerships
Mr. Coco Alcuaz
Executive Director, Makati Business Club (MBC)

Transparency and Public Participation in Infrastructure Development
Atty. Terry Ridon
Non-Resident Fellow, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Convenor, InfraWatch PH

Host & Moderator:
Ms. Mary Joyce Ilas
Communications and Advocacy Lead, Stratbase ADR Institute

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