Govt ‘shelves’ at least 20 big-ticket infra projects
MANILA, Philippines — The government has revised its list of infrastructure flagship projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program of President Rodrigo Duterte as it “shelved” at least 20 original big-ticket projects.
Vince Dizon, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) chief, said the government’s big-ticket infrastructure projects are now at 100 from the previous 75.
“One of the reasons why we revisited the list of 75 is because – as Secretary Pernia and Secretary Villar pointed out – there were some projects [on] that list that after the feasibility studies, they were found out to be not yet feasible now,” Dizon said in a briefing in Malacañang.
“They may be feasible in the future, but not yet now, because as you very well know, especially for those of you who have covered for a long time, NEDA requires a threshold economic rate of return,” he added.
Dizon said they have projected that 38 out of the 100 flagship projects would be finished by 2022 or by the end of Duterte’s term.
He said 22 projects would be partially or substantially completed while 40 projects would be completed beyond 2022, saying “that is our honest assessment.”
Which projects were shelved?
“Build, Build, Build never promised that we would complete all these infrastructure projects in five or six years – that’s impossible,” he said.
“That’s impossible, nobody promised that. But what we promised is number one, we will start,” he added.
He said those that were shelved include “inter-island bridges that are just too expensive and difficult to build as of this time.”
He cited a bridge in Mindoro and another bridge connecting Leyte and Bicol.
Still, Dizon disputed the claim of Sen. Franklin Drilon that the Build, Build, Build program was a “dismal failure.”
“So finally, I just want to emphasize the point: Is Build, Build, Build a failure? Absolutely not, and the number speaks for themselves. Construction is up; public spending on infrastructure is up, and this has led to faster economic growth,” he said.
Dizon admitted that they are “not contented” with the progress of the flagship infrastructure projects.
“While we’ve already achieved a lot, we’re not contented; we’re not satisfied. We want to do even more,” he said.
“Are we happy with the progress? We could do better, and we admit that. I think the President is the only leader who actually says, ‘You know, that’s nice but we want to do better.’ Why do we want to do better? Because, you know, the difficulty, the hardship that our people endure every day can’t wait. We have to do this quickly,” he added.
Dizon said “Build, Build, Build is thousands of projects estimated at 8 trillion while “the flagship program of a hundred is 4 trillion.”
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