The Department of Transportation (DOTr) rejected Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon’s claim that the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program was a failure, citing numerous completed and ongoing infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration.
In a phone interview, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications and Commuter Affairs Goddes Hope Libiran said the list presented by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) which include 75 flagship projects were submitted back at the beginning of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term and does not reflect the evolving needs of the country.
“As you go along, you need to have an evolving list kung ano yung mga projects na sa tingin ng economic managers kailangan masimulan saka mas kailangan ng mga tao ngayon (of what projects are seen by economic managers as necessary to begin and most needed by people),” Libiran said.
Such a list, Libiran said, would naturally include projects that should be completed or started during the Duterte administration.
She added that the BBB project was beyond those initial 75 projects and that the department has already completed numerous projects with more ongoing.
“As far as the DOTr is concerned, nagde-deliver kami ng mga (we deliver) infrastructure projects. Even more than what is expected of us,” Libiran said.
For airports, Libiran said 64 projects have been completed by the DOTr and its partners, with another 133 projects ongoing.
The completed airport projects include the new passenger terminal building of the Puerto Princesa International Airport completed on May 2017, “World’s Friendliest Resort Airport” Mactan-Cebu International Airport inaugurated on June 2018, the country’s first eco airport—Bohol-Panglao International Airport—inaugurated on November 2018, among many others.
“All other domestic projects na napabayaan in the last years, natapos natin (that were neglected in previous years, we completed)—the Ormoc Airport, the Tacloban Airport, and so many other airport projects,” Libiran said.
For maritime ports, she said the DOTr has completed 243 port projects nationwide in partnership with the Philippine Ports Authority and other stakeholders.
For land terminals, she cited the completion of the country’s first land port, the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, with two more terminals in the pipeline—the Taguig City Integrated Terminal Exchange and the North Integrated Terminal Exchange.
Libiran said there are also numerous ongoing rail projects with six under construction, one rehabilitation project, and another eight in the pipeline.
The ongoing projects include the Metro Manila Subway which broke ground in Feb. 2018, the MRT-7 which was 49.22 percent complete as of October, MRT-3 rehabilitation which began in May 2019, and the Common Station for the MRT-3, MRT-7, LRT-1, and the Metro Manila subway to be completed in 2021, among others.
“Yung subway nga lang eh. ‘Di ba, when we came in, sinasabi nila diyan, drawing lang yan, hindi daw totoo. Nananaginip lang daw kami. Pero ano nangyari? Nag-groundbreaking tayo nung February (Let’s just talk about the subway. Isn’t it when we came in, they were saying this will not push through? That we were just dreaming. But what happened? We already had a groundbreaking back in Feb.),” Libiran said.
During plenary deliberations on the proposed 2020 budget on Tuesday, Drilon said the BBB project was a “dismal failure” with only 9 out of 75 flagship projects under construction halfway into Duterte’s term. (PNA)