Malacañang on Tuesday quashed the claim of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program is a “dismal failure.” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo described as “baseless” the lawmaker’s statement that only nine of the current administration’s 75 flagship infrastructure projects have started construction.
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He said President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has many key infrastructure accomplishments, compared to the past government led by former president Benigno Aquino III.
“Senator Frank, look at the administration you previously belonged. Six years, not a single infrastructure na nagawa. Malayong-malayo sa dami [nang nagawa ng administrasyon ngayon] (Not a single infrastructure was completed during the six-year term of the past administration. It’s far from the current administration’s accomplishments),” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
“It’s baseless. Eh marami ngang ginagawa ang administrasyon, hindi lang nine (The administration has started so many infrastructure projects, not just nine),” he added.
Around PHP9 trillion will be earmarked for around 75 big-ticket infrastructure projects that are expected to be implemented until the end of Duterte’s term in 2022.
Drilon needs to ‘educate’ himself
To dispute Drilon’s claim, Panelo gave updates on select big-ticket infrastructure projects of the current administration.
The Palace official said that under Duterte’s watch, the construction of Light Rail Transit (LRT) – Line 1 Cavite extension, LRT-2 East Extension, Metro Manila Railway (MRT) – Common Station, Metro Manila Subway, Philippine National Railway (PNR) Clark (Phase 1), Mindanao Railway, Sangley Airport, and Clark Airport Expansion has already commenced.
Panelo also noted that there is an ongoing rehabilitation of MRT-3 and Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
He also emphasized that there is an ongoing right of way acquisition for PNR Clark (Phase 2) and PNR Bicol.
Meantime, PNR Calamba and Subic-Clark Railway will have to go through bidding process, Panelo said. Panelo also mentioned the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) completion of 9,845 kilometers of road, 7,909 bridges, 4,536 flood control projects, 82 evacuation centers, and 71,803 classrooms, halfway through Duterte’s six-year-term.
“So we have so many projects,” the Palace official said.
“Kailangan tingnan niya ‘yung mga binasa ko para (He should look at what I’ve read so) he will educate himself. Kulang siguro ang information niya (Perhaps, he lacks information),” he added, referring to Drilon.
DPWH chief praised
Panelo said Duterte was even impressed with DPWH Secretary Mark Villar who oversees the implementation of the infrastructure projects.
He said Villar received praise from the President for showing an excellent performance.
“Puring-puri nga si Mark Villar ni Presidente eh. Magaling. Madaming nagawa. Batang-bata pa (Mark Villar is earning praises from the President. He’s doing a great job. He has done many accomplishments at a young age),” the Palace official said.
“The fact remains na maraming (that there are many infrastructure) projects [under Duterte’s leadership],” he added. (PNA)