After the second consecutive quarter of economic decline, infrastructure projects under the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program will significantly aid in the economic recovery of the country, said Vivencio Dizon, the Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs on August 6.
The government reported a 16.5% contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic that forced the country to impose community quarantine measures which resulted in the restriction of economic activities.
Despite this however, Dizon sees a “silver lining” as infrastructure projects can spur economic growth for the foreseeable future.
In a joint Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) press conference, Dizon said the government amidst the pandemic has delivered infrastructure projects under the program.
“We have not only continued with ‘Build, Build, Build’ and our flagship projects, we will further intensify this in order for this to serve as a major driver in our recovery for the coming months,” he added.
Dizon said the government has reprioritized the infrastructure program, retaining 92 flagship projects amounting around PHP4.1 trillion.
Eight projects that are still undergoing studies were replaced with projects that are ready for implementation and those responsive to the country’s post-pandemic needs, he added.
“This (pandemic) should not deter us from pushing further the country’s infrastructure projects. On the other hand, it should push us to invest more,” he said.
Amid the community quarantine measures for the past several months, various infrastructure projects were completed such as the:
1) Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project, which provides more water in Metro Manila;
2) Tarlac–Pangasinan-La Union Expressway Rosario Exit which cuts travel time between Manila and Baguio City to three to 3.5 hours from the usual six to seven hours
Infrastructure projects that are nearing completion are:
1) Clark International Airport New Passenger Terminal Building that is expected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2021;
2) Cagayan de Oro Coastal Road;
3) Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Link Bridge that allows people to travel between the two central business districts in only five to 10 minutes;
4) Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 Project that will be completed by the end of 2020.
Since the “Build, Build, Build” program was launched in 2017, Dizon noted that the Duterte administration has completed 121 airport projects; 369 commercial, social, and tourism ports; 23,657 kilometers of roads; and 4,959 bridges respectively.