The Duterte administration has a new battlecry and it is "Build, Build, Build."
With the goal of decongesting Metro Manila and various other cities around the Philippines, a comprehensive, nationwide infrastructure program is set to be implemented beginning 2017 with an unprecedented budget of 5.4% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In a show of unity and cooperation between the various agencies tasked to spearhead the construction of key infrastructure projects, the press briefing was attended by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Ernesto Pernia and the president and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Vivencio Dizon.
At the behest of President Duterte, 25% of the DPWH budget has been allocated to decongestion of not just Metro Manila, but also of major cities around the country that are already experiencing the negative effects of poor vehicular flow.
According to Secretary Villar, at least five infrastructure projects are slated to begin next year and these are the following:
For his part, DOTr Secretary Tugade revealed plans to construct the various railway projects to facilitate mobility of commuters, including basic goods and commodities. These include the following:
Several of these projects have been processed by the NEDA Board, which is chaired by President Duterte, and are now the various stages implementation by the concerned agencies.
Set to get approval from the NEDA Board is the road widening project from Tutuban to Manila, which aims to increase the 9-kilometer one-lane road to two lanes each way, and the Valenzuela connection from Quezon City that will give commuters headed to the North Luzon Expressway and vice-versa an alternate route.
A 24/7 construction schedule composed of three shifts is planned for all of these infrastructure projects in order to keep it in schedule or better yet, finish ahead of time.
With the goal of parity between the Philippines and its neighboring countries in Asia in terms of infrastructure, the Duterte administration also revealed plans to further increase the budget to 7% of the GDP.