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Friday, April 16, 2021

Gov’t to finish major infra projects despite coronavirus pandemic, says transport chief

The government’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program has remained on track despite the current coronavirus pandemic, the transportation department said, noting it expected to finish major infrastructure projects before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte steps down from power.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on April 15, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

During the Cabinet meeting Thursday night, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade reported to President Duterte the progress of the Build, Build, Build (BBB) projects spearheaded by the administration.

“Habang tayo’y nakikipagbaka at nilalabanan ang pandemya, ang Build, Build, Build ho ay tuloy-tuloy. Hindi ho ito nawala,” Tugade said.

The transportation chief reported that many projects have already been completed not only in the Metro Manila but also in other areas such as Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro City, General Santos City, Zamboanga, Siargao, Surigao and other places.

Tugade announced the completion of the rehabilitation of Calbayog airport which is set to be inaugurated on April 22.  Also, the Bicol International Airport, a long overdue project, will be finished this year.

“Iyong konstruksyon ng Bicol International Airport matatapos po ‘yan ng June or July at ta-targetin namin maging operational ‘yan before the end of the year,” Tugade said.

“Matagal hong nakabinbin ‘yan at talaga hong kaawaawa ‘yong Republika noon, dekada na nag-delay ‘yan. Mr. President, tatapusin po natin sa iyong termino ‘yan.”

Subway and Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension projects are also being cited to be finished within President Duterte’s term.

“Sa riles, ‘yong subway ho may partial operability akong tutumbukin at itutuloy before the end of your term. Iyong LRT extension, mao-operate ko ‘yan at magiging operational ‘yan. Ito ho ‘yong rail operations ng Marikina at Antipolo. Maraming taon din na pinag-antay-antay ng ating kababayan ‘yan. Sir, ready for delivery, ready for operation this year,” Tugade reported.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) led the development and construction of big-ticket infrastructure projects following the launch of the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build program, the centerpiece program of the administration aimed at ushering the “Golden age of infrastructure development” in the Philippines.

With the primary goal of improving the quality of life of Filipinos, the Duterte government focused on improving the country’s infrastructures having in mind that such massive investment could boost economic development.

Meanwhile, Tugade said the DOTr eyes adding more bus routes and issuing more franchises to alleviate transport woes in the midst of the pandemic.

“Mr. President, habang tinitingnan ho natin ang Build, Build, Build at itinutuloy, marami hong nagsasabi na dahil lang sa pandemya, kulang ang sasakyan, bus, at jeep,” he said.

“Tama ho sila kaya nga ba’t naglulunsad ho tayo ng proyekto na madagdagan ‘yong ruta, madagdagan ‘yong prangkisa, at matutuloy ho ‘yong provincial routes.”

Aside from the efforts initiated by the government, other stakeholders have thrown their support to make the government program successful, according to Tugade.

“Marami hong tumulong at nakikipagkapit-bisig upang ‘yong mga proyekto na katulad nito ay natatapos po,” said Tugade.  PND