Building must  continue into next administration

Published October 25, 2019, 4:05 PM

by Manila Bulletin

E CARTOON OCT 26, 2019
There are at least 45 major public works projects underway in the government’s massive infrastructure program and at least 75 percent of them will be completed by the end of President Duterte’s administration in 2022, Secretary Mark Villar of the Department  of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said at a round-table interview at the Manila Bulletin last Tuesday.

Some of the projects aim to decongest the highways of Metro Manila and develop new links to other parts of the country, he said. He cited the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, Harborlink, C-5,  Southlink, the NLEX-SLEX Connector, and the Cavite-Laguna Expressway.

The other major projects are in the provinces – railways and expressways and bridges, airports and seaports, dams and irrigation systems all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The first batch of projects will be completed by  2021, he said, and a second batch by  2022, when President Duterte bows out of office. With all these projects, he said,  “Definiiely, we will be looking at a different country from when we came in.” He added:  “Whatever suffering we have now, it’s for a good purpose…. Medyo luluwag na ang traffic by next year.”

Secretary Villar had the ongoing problem of traffic when he spoke on the ongoing construction projects in many parts of Metro Manila. But while some of the big projects are indeed in the capital area, the department is looking at the entire country and its needs, he said. Aside from the 45 big projects, he added, there are also thousands of other smaller ones being studied and implemented.

The big projects may not all be completed by 2022, but Secretary Villar expressed confidence that he next administration will carry  on the ambitious master plan of “Build, Build, Build.”

We truly hope that this will be so – that the next administration will  continue the building program of the Duterte administration. Previous administrations have had their own  special concerns – uniting the various  groups that make up the Filipino nation, ending the decades-long communist rebellion, national economic development, leadership in our part of the world.

The Duterte administration itself began with  an all-out anti-drugs campaign that may have run into difficulty with  the latest developments in the ranks of its police enforcers. It also continues to plan and move for a federal form of government via a new constitution.

But it will probably be best known for the massive infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build,” with  at least 45 major building projects underway. We thus hope that whatever projects remain unfinished in 2022, the next administration will see the immense value of the program and continue to maintain it as a major part of Philippine development and  progress.