Halfway through President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, the government has revised the list of its flagship projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program as some have been shelved and replaced by “doable” items.
Vince Dizon, presidential adviser for flagship programs and projects, admitted Wednesday that some of the infrastructure items in the initial list of 75 projects were “not feasible” as the government had only finished two in a span of three years.
But Dizon took exception to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon’s view that the government’s infrastructure program was a dismal failure.
Is Build, Build, Build a failure?
Absolutely not, and the number speaks for themselves,” Dizon said.
“Construction is up, public spending on infrastructure is up and this has led to faster economic growth.”
Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, on Wednesday filed a bill granting special powers to President Duterte to speed up the completion of the government’s infrastructure projects until 2022.
"I want to restore the faith of the people on the capacity of the state to prompt consequences on the lives of the people. I'm taking away any alibi by the administration not to deliver on the Build, Build, Build projects," Salceda said.
From the initial list of 75 infrastructure projects, Dizon said, the administration now had 100 items in its updated list costing about P4.3 trillion.
‘‘We wanted to look at the projects which are most urgent, covering the entire country as much as possible, and projects that we must begin now even after Duterte’s term,’’ Dizon told reporters.
‘‘But we are honest enough to tell everybody that, "Hey, it's not yet feasible." It's not yet feasible, so let's postpone its construction.”
Dizon said 35 of the 100 flagship projects were being built while 32 others were expected to begin in the next six to eight months.
Twenty-one projects were in the “advanced stages of government approval” while the remaining 12 were at the “advanced stages of feasibility studies,” he said.
Dizon said all the 100 big-ticket projects would start under Duterte’s term.
Of those, 22 were partially operational and 38 were expected to be completed by 2022.
The remaining 40 projects would be left to the succeeding administration to finish.
Among the biggest projects in the list are the P800-billion Calamba to Clark Railway and the P700-billion Manila International Airport in Bulacan.
The government has yet to release the updated list of projects as of this writing.
Dizon said focus was also being given to the Visayas and Mindanao.
While the administration initially shunned a public-private partnership agreement to fund the projects, 28 of the items in the updated list would be funded under a PPP arrangement, Dizon said. With Maricel V. Cruz
READ: Gov't infra program a ‘failure’—Drilon