THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) strongly belies claims made during the Senate budget deliberations that the Build, Build, Build (BBB), the Duterte administration’s massive infrastructure development program, is a “dismal failure.”
The BBB is comprised of thousands of infrastructure projects, majority of which have already started or have been completed. While an initial number of these projects were considered as “flagship,” it should be noted that thousands others, whose impact to local communities leaves very little doubt of their significance and value, have also been implemented under the BBB Program.
Thus, the DOTr maintains it is grossly unfair to assess the success of the program by merely looking at the implementation of the flagship projects – many of which require immense pre-construction work such as right-of-way acquisition and community resettlement.
We submit, then, that the appropriate standard should consider all infrastructure projects under the BBB.
In the aviation and airports sector alone, the DOTr and its attached agencies have completed 64 airport projects under the Duterte administration, with 133 more ongoing.
Completed projects include the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, which began feasibility study in 2000, but construction only started in June 2015 with 48 percent slippage upon transition to the current administration. It was inaugurated in November 2018.
Construction of the new terminal of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport was delayed for 11 months in 2016. It was inaugurated in 2017 and is now fully operational.
The Tacloban Airport’s expanded passenger terminal building was inaugurated in March 2018. Rehabilitation works for the Ormoc Airport have been completed in July 2019, after the airport was severely damaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) back in 2013.
Domestic airports also underwent improvements. These include the gateways in Camiguin, Virac, and Tuguegarao.
The BBB Program is the Duterte administration’s biggest and boldest public spending machinery, for we believe that to spur economic growth and development, infrastructure investment is imperative.
The funds we seek will help build the foundations for better infrastructure assets throughout the country. Let us not lose sight of what ultimately matters, that is, to provide a comfortable life for Filipinos.
At this midway point of the administration, President Duterte wants to ensure that the objectives of the BBB Program are met, not just for his term but for many years moving forward. What we need now is motivation and support, not undue criticism and misinformed allegations.