By Raymund Antonio
The public should remain vigilant over the implementation of the “Build,Build,Build” program financed through Chinese loans, Oposisyon Koalisyon senatorial candidates said.
The opposition senate bets issued the warning as the P9-trillion infrastructure projects amid fears it may result in billions of pesos worth of kickbacks.
“Ang Build, Build, Build, baka maging bukol, bukol, bukol,” said former solicitor general Florin “Pilo” Hilbay, referring to the Filipino term that means lump.
Hilbay, a lawyer, compared the infrastructure program, which could be marred by anomalies such as kickback, commission, or padding similar to the $300-million NBN-ZTE controversy exposed during the term of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“This is an issue of transparency dahil ang ordinaryong mamamayan magbabayad nito,” he said.
The Duterte administration vowed to embark on the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program consisting of 75 projects amounting close to P9 trillion. This aims to accelerate spending for infrastructure to generate jobs and boost the economy.
“Imagine the scale and magnitude of this,” Hilbay said.
“Ang agam-agam ay pwedeng mangyari kung anuman ang nangyari noong GMA time, na malakas ang korapsyon, walang public bidding, bumabalik dito in a much larger scale,” he added.
Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano said the projects should be carefully examined to determine the extent of involvement of China.
“Sa construction kasi nandyan ang corruption, yan ang tokhangin natin,” he said.
The Philippines recently signed several memorandum of understanding with China for various projects, including one which would entail a joint gas and oil exploration in the disputed waters of West Philippine Sea.
Samira Gutoc, a former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission,
said a vital component of the government’s Build, Build, Build program should be “respect, respect, respect.”
She cited the ongoing rehabilitation works in Marawi City, which was destroyed by the fighting between government troops and ISIS-inspired rebels.
Gutoc said the Marawi residents should be consulted every step of the way in the rebuilding of their community.