This gov’t will be known for ‘Build, Build, Build’

Published November 18, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

It is now three years and six months since the start of the Duterte administration.  It immediately launched   new programs led by a drive on illegal drugs along with regional economic development programs, with emphasis  on  the  President’s  home  region of Mindanao, along  with his all-out push for  a Bangsamoro  Autonomous  Region.

The drugs  problem  remains a major national  concern and even now the President’s appointment of Vice President  Leni Robredo as co-chairman of the task force against drugs, the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD),  is at the center of continuing controversy, with Robredo being warned  against revealing “state secrets” that  may  jeopardize national  security.

One  program, however, on which we have no reservations is the infrastructure construction program that is now going on all over  the country. Signs of the work in progress are everywhere in Metro Manila – on Osmena  Highway  in Makati, to  Araneta Ave., and Balintawak, in Quezon City, connecting the South and the North Expressways.  Another elevated expressway is rising from NLEX along the old railroad  tracks  to C-3 and Radial Road 10 to the piers.

And  these  are only  the most visible projects to Metro  Manilans.  All around the country, Malacanang said  this weekend, 35 projects are now rolling and 32 more will begin in six to eight months. Then there are 21 projects in advanced stages of approval and another 12 in advanced stages of feasibility studies. By the end of the Duterte administration in 2022, 38 of these are expected to be completed; work  on 22 others will have to continue in the next  administration. These major projects are listed as part of “Build, Build, Build” but thousand of smaller projects are planned or are already underway in all parts of the country.

Some opposition leaders have been critical of a number of administration programs – with reason on some cases.  But  the  recent  claim of one opposition senator that “Build, Build, Build”  has been a “dismal  failure” must be rejected, if only because we see the massive posts of the expressways  rising  all  aound us in Metro Manila.

The  administration  has  less than three years  to go and so much more needs to be done.  The Bangsamoro  must  be  assisted to become  a functioning autonomous regions if only to correct – in the words of President Duterte – a “historic injustice” to the Moro people.

He may fare less successfully in rooting  out  corruption in government, so deeply  embedded  the systems of graft have become in some  agencies. The drug  problem  will continue  to hound  succeeding governments – so many nations around  the world – Iran, Mexico, Bolivia, Russia,  and  even the United States – continue to have serious drug problems.

But “Build, Build, Build” is one great distinction for which the Duterte administration will  be  known.  It will be a major contribution  to the economic development of the country in the coming years.