7 presidential candidates vow to continue ‘Build, Build, Build’
MANILA, Philippines — Seven presidential candidates vowed on Saturday to continue the “Build, Build, Build” program, or the flagship infrastructure project of the Duterte administration.
During the debate hosted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the nine presidential candidates who were present were asked if they believe that the “Build, Build, Build” program was a success and if they would continue the program if they get elected as president.
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was not present at the debate.
In response, Vice President Leni Robredo said she will continue the initiative but said there should be more emphasis on public and private partnership (PPP).
“Itutuloy po natin ang Build, Build, Build pero magbibigay po tayo ng emphasis on PPP instead of ODA (official development assistance) para hindi na utang. Pero for PPP to succeed kailangan pong isiguro natin na inayos natin ang pamahalaan para mas maraming investors ang tumiwala na mag-invest sa atin,” said Robredo.
(We will continue the Build, Build, Build, but we will provide emphasis on PPP instead of ODA. But for PPP to succeed, we should fix our government so that more investors will trust us.)
The Vice President also vowed to prioritize rural development, transportation, water resource management, and climate-resilient infrastructure in pursuing infrastructure projects.
Like Robredo, Senator Panfilo Lacson also said there should be a shift to PPP in continuing the infrastructure drive.
“Sa tanong na kung matagumpay ba? Out of 118 projects, ang na-accomplish lang 12. So, kayo na po ang humusga. Mga kababayan na lang natin ang humusga kung matagumpay ba. Kung itutuloy? Yes. Pero gawin nating better, i-boost natin, at dapat bolder,” he said.
(On the question if it is successful, out of the 118 projects, only 12 were accomplished. So you should be the one to judge. The people should just if it is successful. Will I continue it? Yes. But let’s make it better, let us boost it more, and make it bolder.)
“Ang problema lang natin pumalo na tayo sa P12.03-trillion, ‘yung ating national debt—foreign at saka domestic. So, panahon na siguro para mag-shift tayo from BBB papuntang PPP na kung saan hindi gagastos ang gobyerno at private initiative ang magsisimula. Marami pong ganyan, marami tayong mga malalaking corporation na willing sila na mag-participate sa nation building lalo na sa imprastruktura,” Lacson added.
(The problem is our debt has reached P12.03 trillion, both foreign and domestic. So maybe it is time to shift from BBB to PPP where the government will not spend and it will be a private initiative. There are many large corporations willing to participate in nation building, especially in infrastructure.)
Senator Manny Pacquiao, for his part, believes that the “Build, Build, Build” is a good program of the government.
The senator also vowed to expand his housing project nationwide, as he emphasized the need to develop the Mindanao area.
“Maganda po talaga ang proyekto na ‘yan kasi kasama po ‘yan sa economic growth and development. Pangalawa po ipagpatuloy po natin ‘yung pagpagawa natin ng bahay nationwide. Kapag tayo po ay naging pangulo ay nationwide i-implement natin ‘yang pabahay program natin,” he said.
(That is really a good project because it is involved in economic growth and development. Second, we will continue the housing project nationwide. If I become president, I will implement this program nationwide.)
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, in his response, said he believes the Duterte flagship program is successful.
“Yes, matagumpay ‘yung Build, Build, Build, dangan lamang, talagang inabot tayo ng pandemyang ito. Will I continue it? Opo mga kababayan, itutuloy ko po ang Build, Build, Build. But we will build more houses, better schools, more hospitals, more post harvest facilities para sa ating fisherfolk at farmers at maghahayop, and more source of energy for stability ng energy sa buong Pilipinas,” he promised.
(Yes, Build, Build, Build was successful. It’s just that we had a pandemic. Will I continue it? Yes, but we will build more houses, better schools, more hospitals, more post-harvest facilities for the fisherfolk and farmers, and more sources of energy for stability in the Philippines.)
Former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella added that the project of his former boss was a success.
“I will continue that and push it beyond just building infrastructure, but we’d also like to build, build, build the next generation lalo na po ang pagstress ng education ng ating mga kabataan, lalo na emphasizing science, technology and engineering and math, para magkaroon tayo ng mas innovative na next generation. And having more innovation, they would lead into more research and development, building a strong economy,” he stated.
(I will continue that and push it beyond just building infrastructure but we’d also like to build, build, build the next generation especially through education of the youth and emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and math, so that we will have a more innovative generation. And having more innovation, it would lead to more research and development, building a strong economy.)
Presidential contender Faisal Mangondato, like other candidates, likewise vowed to continue the “Build, Build, Build” program.
“Itutuloy po natin ‘yung tinatawag na programa ng kasalukuyang pamahalaan na Build, Build, Build, pero ito ang tanong po, ito ba ay nakatuon sa tao na pinagsisilbihan ng gobyerno? he asked.
(We will continue this program of the government called Build, Build, Build, but the question is, is this focused on the welfare of the people that the government should serve?)
For cardiologist Jose Montemayor Jr., the program should be continued because of the “inviolability and sanctity” of contracts.
However, he stressed that the government should ensure that funds for infrastructure projects are not lost to corruption.
“Tandaan natin, loans ‘yan, utang. Now siguraduhin natin mabuti, napupunta ba talaga sa tama ‘yan. Number two, hindi lang iniisip natin na loan, baka naman sa corruption napupunta ‘yan. Bantayan natin mabuti kasi napakagagandang programa, napakalawak ng mga programa, pero kung utang tayo nang utang, napupunta lang sa nakawan, wala ring halaga,” he said.
(Let us remember that these funds are loans. Now, we should ensure that these are being used properly. Number two, we should not just think of loans. We should also look if this is being lost to corruption. Let us monitor it well because this is a good and extensive project, but it will not have value if these loans are just lost to corruption.)
For his part, labor leader Leody de Guzman believes that the Build, Build, Build program achieved some gains but further increased the country’s debt.
He also stressed that while there were additional infrastructure projects, other pressing problems of the country remained unsolved.
“Napakalungkot isipin na marami ngang naipagawang expressway, maraming magandang tulay na naipagawa, pero ‘yung ating mga mamamayan, gutom, maraming naghihirap na ating mga mamamayan, ‘yung presyo ng bigas hindi maresolve, ‘yung presyo ng gasolina hindi maresolve, ‘yung presyo ng kuryente hindi maresolve, ‘yung pag-aaral ng ating mga anak, hindi maresolve, ‘yung pagpapahospital ng ating mga mamamayan hindi maresolve,” he said.
(It is saddening to think that while many expressways were constructed, our countrymen are still hungry, and the problems on the price of rice, gasoline, and energy, as well as on the education of our children and the hospitalization of our countrymen are still unresolved.)
“Walang kwentang gobyerno! ‘Yung basic na pangangailangan ng mamamayan ay hindi natutugunan. ‘Yan ang aking pagtingin sa nangyaring Build, Build, Build na ito,” he remarked.
(What a worthless government! The basic needs of the people are not being met. That’s how I perceive this Build, Build, Build program.)
Former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, meanwhile, said he wants to study first if the Build, Build, Build project provides equal development for different modes of transportation.
“Una titingnan natin, napakaimportante ang ugnayan ng bawat mamamayan sa lipunan, kaya titingnan ko po kung ‘yung Build, Build, Build ay equal ang pagtingin sa mga sasakyan sa dagat, sa itaas, at tsaka sa lupa at tubig,” he said.
(First, we believe that the connection between people in the society is very important. That’s why I will look at whether the Build, Build, Build gives equal opportunities for transportation through air, land, and water.)
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