By Genalyn Kabiling
The government has faced “minor setbacks and challenges” in the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program but will move “full steam ahead” in carrying out these projects, Malacañang declared Wednesday.
Even as the government made some gains in the infrastructure development, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo has affirmed the administration’s resolve to accelerate the construction of the projects to spur the country’s economic progress.
Panelo made the statement after rejecting the criticisms of Senator Franklin Drilon that the administration’s infrastructure program has allegedly been a dismal failure.
“The acceleration of infrastructure development remains part of the core of the Philippine Development Plan, based on the principle that infrastructure supports the country’s overall socioeconomic development. While projected timelines for the completion of key infrastructure projects may have been affected by the delay in the passage of the 2019 Budget, this Administration hit the ground running once it was approved by both houses of Congress,” Panelo said in a statement Wednesday night.
“Presently, the government is forging full steam ahead in implementing its key projects, in accordance with law and applicable regulations, in spite of minor setbacks and challenges like right of way issues. The President remains committed in his vision to enable Filipinos to enjoy a ‘matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay,’” he said
Drilon earlier said only nine out of the 75 Build, Build, Build flagship projects have started construction. With only two percent of the program implemented in the past three years, he claimed that the Build, Build, Build project of the government has been a dismal failure.
Panelo, however, took a swipe at Drilon for his “effrontery” in criticizing the government’s Build Build Build program, adding he was ignorant of its achievements.
“One must admire the effrontery of Sen. Frank Drilon for saying that the Build Build Build Program of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is a dismal failure, coming from someone who was one of the pillars of the previous administration that has a zero accomplishment in its infrastructure program,” he said.
“Such chutzpah is matched only by his obvious ignorance on the accomplishments of the present administration,” he added.
He also accused Drilon of being “either too lethargic to get his facts straight or is unable to contain the opposition’s penchant to foist false narratives.”
To dispute Drilon’s observation, the Palace official then enumerated the government’s gains in infrastructure development
“The facts cannot be any clearer,” he said.
From 2016 to 2018, he said the country posted a 12.7% construction growth.
The government also completed major projects such as NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10; Governor Miranda Bridge (Davao del Norte); Laguna Lake Highway; Pigalo Bridge; TPLEx – Pozorrubio; Bohol – Panglao International Airport; Cagayan de Oro Passenger Terminal Building; Cavite Gateway Terminal; Communications Navigation System/ Air Traffic Management (CNS/ ATM); and New Clark City.
Also, Panelo said are 35 flagship infrastructure projects under construction, 32 projects to commence construction within six to eight months.
He added that 21 are currently in the advanced stages of government approval and 12 in the advanced stages of feasibility studies.
Panelo said the government aims to complete 38 flagship projects by 2022. At least 22 projects will be partially operational or at substantial completion, and 40 will be completed beyond 2022.
Among the projects under construction are: LRT 1 Cavite Extension (Baclaran-Cavite); MRT-3 Rehabilitation; Metro Manila Subway; MRT-7 Common Station; LRT-2 East Extension; PNR Clark; Sangley Airport; NAIA Rehabilitation; and Clark Airport Construction.
Since the President assumes office in 2016, he said the government has completed 9,845 kilometers of road, 2,709 bridges, 4,536 flood control projects, 82 evacuation centers, and 71,803 classrooms.