SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon opined that the ambitious Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration is a dismal failure as only two percent of the proposed projects costing about P1.75 trillion have been implemented.
This observation from Senator Drilon came about as the Senate tackled the General Appropriations bill for 2020. In its review of the previous year’s accomplishment, Drilon noted the underspending by the administration which caused the slow output vis-a-vis the programmed projects.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and Vince Dizon, presidential adviser on flagship projects, vigorously defended the administration by narrating accomplished projects such as bridges, ports, airports, roads and connector links.
Secretary Villar cited the completed projects as follows: 9,845 kilometers of roads, 2,709 bridges, 4536 flood control projects, 82 evacuation centers and 71,803 classrooms.
Those under construction are: LRT 1 Cavite extension, MRT rehabilitation, Metro Manila subway, MRT 7 common station, LRT 2 East extension, PNR Tutuban-Malolos, Sangley airport, NAIA terminal 2 rehabilitation and Clark airport extension.
A published report showed that there were 75 big ticket projects already completed.
Senator Sonny Angara chimed in by saying “that it was not easy to implement projects and this challenge was not unique to the present administration”.
The flagship projects included ambitious ones that would really be a challenge to get off the ground and that right-of-way problems normally cause delays.
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A big innovation in the infrastructure program is the very ambitious subway project in Metro Manila using Japanese-sourced funds and huge tunnel boring machines.
Meanwhile, at the Clark Freeport, continuous improvements of the road network are put in place especially now that the Southeast Asian Games are about to begin.
Credit these to the ever-alert and hands-on style of management of president & CEO Noel F. Manangkil and his team of managers and engineers (including the indefatigable Communications Division head Noel Tulabut).
The beautification of Clark is ongoing and will be very impressive.