Strained Infrastructure in Philippines Erodes the Nation’s Growth Prospects

Photo by Credit Jes Aznar for The New York Times

Photo by Credit Jes Aznar for The New York Times

By Floyd Whaley/ – Chris Ibasan travels only about five miles to work each day in one of Manila’s business districts, but it is often a grueling two-hour commute that gets him into the office late.

“My manager understands,” said Mr. Ibasan, a 24-year-old shipping company employee. “Everyone is late; even the managers are late for work.”

From Mr. Ibasan’s perspective, the problem is simple.

“There are too many people going to work, too many vehicles and not enough roads,” he said. “And taking the train is like lining up to see a movie star. You wait for hours.”

But from an economist’s perspective, the problem is even larger. The 2.2 million vehicles a day that grind away on Manila’s crumbling road system cost the country 876 billion pesos a year, or more than $20 billion, in lost productivity and wasted energy, according to a recent study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. That is a serious drain on an economy of about $250 billion.

“Infrastructure in the Philippines — transport, energy and communication — is in a difficult state to say the least,” said Thierry Geiger, an economist with the World Economic Forum. “Year after year, when we ask business executives based in the country about the state of infrastructure, they say that it is improving. Yet it remains a major bottleneck.”


Find more like this: Economy

  • House approves divorce bill on final reading
  • 3 killed, 23 injured in Manila Pavilion fire
  • 10 dead as light plane crashes in Bulacan
  • Nursing graduate tops board exams twice
  • Duterte Pulls Philippines Out Of International Criminal Court
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


  • CLOSEUP: ‘Lion King’ to include Pinoy flavor in world-class show
  • ‘Riverdale’ stars call out PH magazine for ‘disrespectful’ photoshop editing
  • Pixar’s first female supervising animator is Pinoy
  • Miss Great Britain training for Miss Universe with Pinoy coaches
  • The story behind the Pinoy-made ‘tsinelas’ action figures
  • MORE...


  • The Box That Brings Christmas to the Philippines
  • ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ swims 23 kilometers for peace in Mindanao
  • Former Pinoy dishwasher now owner of pizzeria in Italy
  • Women’s servitude blights Philippine society
  • Filipino hikers seen picking up litter praised widely by HK netizens
  • MORE...


  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • El Nido to impose daily visitor limits in 3 iconic tourist sites
  • Philippines starts building world’s first resort airport
  • aurumOne Makati Hotel – ‘Perfectly Simple’
  • Palawan is world’s top island; Boracay 12th
  • MORE...


  • Gilas beats Japan again in FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers
  • 2018 Winter Olympics: Philippines’ Asa Miller lands 70th in giant slalom
  • Michael Christian Martinez: Olympian and pioneer in Philippine figure skating
  • Basketball’s greatest show comes to Philippines
  • Laker Jordan Clarkson: ‘It feels good to be Filipino’
  • MORE...

    OFW News

  • DOLE suspends OFW deployment to Kuwait
  • Some OFWs turn to vlogging to beat loneliness, share life abroad
  • Overseas Filipino Bank to serve immigrants, workers
  • The ‘bagong bayani’ of the Philippines
  • Which countries pay OFWs the highest?
  • MORE...


  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • Luzon has greatest concentration of unique mammals
  • Mindanao plants 3M trees in an hour, challenges world record
  • Fighting for sharks in the Philippines
  • DENR to crush seized elephant tusks, drops ceremonial burning
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces