By FRED M. LOBO
The Duterte administration has vowed to accelerate its massive infrastructure and transport programs to improve mobility in Metro Manila and the regions.
Let’s get moving! Build, build, build, Malacanang said.
President Duterte warned the police and the military against planning a coup against him, wishing to finish his term but expressing willingness to go earlier, if needed.
I’m willing to go and won’t be a “kapit-tuko,” DU30 assured.
The Duterte administration vowed that aside from those already done, more projects will be completed in the last three years of this administration.
“The best is yet to come,” Duterte boys said FVR- style.
The infrastructure and economic Cabinet clusters gave the assurance during the first of the three pre-SONA series at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), with Cebu and Davao series to follow.
Cabinet gives “appetizer” to DU30’s 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, chair of the Cabinet infrastructure cluster, said more government infrastructure projects in various parts of the country will be partially opened or completed, within the Duterte administration or until 2022.
“Build, Build, Build” to be fulfilled in last three years.
Villar identified the projects as the construction of the first Manila subway under ODA financing from Japan, expressways and skyways connecting North and South Luzon corridors, LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension to Bacoor, and rehabilitation of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to connect Manila-Clark and Manila-Bicol, and the Mindanao Railway.
More infrastructure means easier and shorter land travel, he said.
Villar also mentioned various either infrastructure projects in the countryside — Phase 1 of the Clark International Airport terminal expansion set to open in June 2020 and the improvement or completion of other airports just like the newly opened Panglao airport.
Time for faster air travel, too.
Villar also said that once major road projects around Metro Manila are completed, a 15-minute travel time between Makati and Balintawak is probable and five-minute travel from Cubao to Makati is possible.
DU30’s five-minute dream travel is doable, Villar assured.
The DPWH chief said road projects such as the elevated expressways built around the metropolis will greatly take away a large number of vehicles from the main highway, making a five-minute travel time from Cubao to Makati City possible.
“Bypass roads” like Harbor Link Expressway and the Metro Manila Skyway 3 will do the trick, he assured.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the government will use the 24-7 work “catch up” formula in the implementation of the various projects, including the opening of the Sangley Airport in Cavite to decongest NAIA and Metro Manila.
“The foundation for mobility has been laid out…in the last three years, the best is yet to come,” Tugade said.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government has decided to fund the “Build, Build, Build” projects with an estimated investments of $160 billion, largely from government money and Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds.
We’ll accelerate implementation rather than wait for private funds and longer time, he said.
Socio Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia renewed his call for the liberalization of the Philippine economy, saying the country is the most restrictive country in the ASEAN region.
“In Vietnam, 100 percent foreign is allowed but the Philippines is only partially open. So, the legislature should pass the Foreign Investments Act, Retail Trade Act, and Public Services Act. With those three, we could expect tripling or quadrupling what we have achieved,” he said.
President Duterte reiterated that he was willing to step down if the military and the police were no longer happy with him.
No need to stage a coup d’etat. I will bow down to your wishes, he said.
Duterte said that police and the military may someday stage a coup because of some issues, like corruption which is irritating him to the point of resigning.
“I know that the Armed Forces and the Police will have to decide one day somehow. Do not do it, please, during my term,” he said.
Malacañang said that Duterte’s statement on a coup, including allowing the vice president to take over, was just an expression of confidence that the military will not stage nor support any ouster plot against him.
“(His) seeming incitement is actually an expression of confidence,” presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.