Transport operations and infrastructure development in the Philippines were acutely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as lockdowns stalled construction projects, movement restrictions prohibited travel even within communities, and a ban on international arrivals in March limited aviation services for the rest of 2020. As the country’s response to Covid-19 began to take shape in the first half of 2020, it soon became clear that transport and infrastructure spending would be protected as a key driver of economic continuity and recovery. In an April outline of the socio-economic response, Carlos Dominguez, the secretary of finance, stated that the government would press on with President Rodrigo Duterte’s flagship Build, Build, Build infrastructure programme to generate economic activity and create employment. As early as May 2020 the Department of Transportation announced that, despite ongoing lockdowns in Luzon, it would resume work on 13 big-ticket projects – albeit with certain limitations.
This chapter contains interviews with Tony Fernandes, CEO, AirAsia Group; and Rubén Camba, South-east Asia Director, Acciona.