The government bared its bold infrastructure plan at a press conference at the International Media Center in Conrad Hotel as part of the DuterteNomics Forum and ASEAN Summit. The briefing featured Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, and Bases Conversation Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vince Dizon presenting the various infrastructure projects being studied, developed, implemented and completed by their respective departments.
All the projects are part of President Duterte's ambitious Build! Build! Build! plan, totaling an estimated P8.4 trillion pesos and expected to be completed from 2017-2022. Each project is hoped to serve as solutions to traffic congestion, the high cost of prices, the demand for efficient mass transport projects, and the need for more jobs planned, not just for Metro Manila, but throughout the country.
DPWH Secretary, Mark Villar, noted that this is “the golden age of infrastructure.”
Sec. Villar first highlighted the completed projects, the RunWay Manila pedestrian bridge connecting Newport City to NAIA Terminal 3 and the NAIAX elevated expressway that allows private vehicles and buses easier access to all the airport terminals.
Villar then moved to the next slide showing the planned Luzon Spine Expressway Network. The Spine Network expands upon the plan to complete five major expressways by 2022, by integrating these into the current network of Luzon highways.
The project envisions the consolidation of 18 highway projects, which he called the “most ambitious ever done by the DPWH.” The project entails the completion and connection of the NLEX and SLEX via connector roads, as well as to other planned highways traversing the length of Luzon. Besides the NLEX and SLEX connector roads and NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10, the plan also envisions the completion or, at least, start of construction of projects like the Cavite Laguna Expressway (CALAX), Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLEX, Cabanatuan to Nueva Ecija), North Luzon East Expressway (NLEE, La Mesa Parkway to Cabanatuan), Southeast Metro Manila Expressway (SMME, FTI to Batasan), Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX), Southern Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 (SLEX TR4, Sto. Tomas, Batangas to Lucena, Quezon), Quezon Bicol Expressway (QueBEx, SLEX TR4 to CamSurExp), Camarines Sur Expressway (QueBEx to Camarines Sur) all to serve as major routes for both private, public and commercial vehicles from La Union, through Metro Manila, to Bicol.
Within Metro Manila the agency plans to build 12 new bridges across the Pasig River, Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway, 3 of which are already starting this year.
In other parts of the country, there are plans for even more new expressways and bypass roads, amounting to 200. Among them is the Bacolod Economic Highway, Leyte Tide Embankment, Metro Cebu Expressway, Panguil Bay Bridge (Misamis Occidental to Lanao del Norte), Mindanao Development Road Network, and the Davao City Bypass.
BCDA President, Vince Dizon, brought up plans to organize bus rapid transit routes within Bonifacio Global City to ease commuting within the area. He also mentioned a study to connect the system from Bonifacio South, through the NAIA Terminals, all the way to LRT1 extension, via underground tunnels. It was not made clear, however, if these will be passable for private vehicles.
The agency heads said the infrastructure projects will boost economic growth, create a competitive business climate, generate jobs, and uplift the lives of the Filipino people.
DOTr Sec. Tugade added that the planned projects are hoped to “address the issue of decongesting traffic and reducing the cost of doing business.”
The agencies mentioned above and the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget Management (DBM), and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) are working closely for the first time in Philippine history in order to address the urgent need for infrastructure.
The conference was ended by the announcement of the Build Build Build plan's transparency portal, www.build.gov.ph. The site enumerates all of the projects of each of the departments, allowing the public to view the cost, status, and pertinent documents of all the projects in the portal.