'BUILD, BUILD, BUILD.' An aerial view of the 18-kilometer Tarlac Interchange to Aliaga Section of the Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEX) Project Phase 1, which was inaugurated on July 15, 2021. It is part of the Luzon Spine Expressway Network, which is aimed at reducing travel time from the northernmost part of Luzon, Ilocos, to the southern most part, Bicol, by over 50 percent via the construction of a 101-kilometer high standard highway network. (RTVM photo)

MANILA – The country is inching closer to reaping the gains of economic development through the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program of the Duterte administration, which resulted in the construction of several infrastructure projects nationwide.

Based on its latest data, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has completed a total of 29,264 kilometers of roads, including those that have been widened and rehabilitated.

Of this figure, a total of 2,025 kilometers are farm-to-market roads, 94.99 kilometers are farm-to-mill roads, 1,376.26 kilometers are missing links, 1,470.51 kilometers are bypasses or diversion roads, 149.65 kilometers lead to airports, 293.19 kilometers lead to seaports,703.54 kilometers lead to economic zones and 2,436.40 kilometers lead to declared tourism destinations.

It added that a total of 3,122.73 kilometers were maintained, 4,686 kilometers widened and 3,591.96 kilometers rehabilitated and upgraded.

Among them are the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link Segment 10, the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, the Laguna Lake Highway, the Candon City Bypass Road in Ilocos Sur, the Slaughter House Road in Davao City, the Pulilan-Baliuag Diversion Road in Bulacan.

The NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 now connects the Port Area in Manila to NLEX and includes three exit off-ramps -- Segment 10-C3 Ramp to Caloocan City, Dagat-Dagatan Ramp to Malabon City and C3-R10 Ramp to Navotas City.

These also include the Calapan-Roxas Road in Oriental Mindoro, the Mandaue Causeway Road in Cebu, the Dipolog-Oroquieta Road in Misamis Occidental, the Dumaguete North Road in Negros Oriental, and the Taytay-El Nido Road in Palawan.

Road links, bridges

The DPWH said 5,950 bridges were completed included in the works those have widened (1,366); retrofitted (1,805); rehabilitated (1,389); replaced (297) and some 738 local bridges have been constructed.

Among them are the Lucban Bridge in Cagayan, the Marcos Bridge in Marikina, the Sicapo Bridge in Ilocos Norte, the Anduyan Bridge in La Union, the Tallang Bridge in Cagayan, the Bolo-Bolo Bridge in Misamis Oriental, the Caguray Bridge in Occidental Mindoro, the Tinongdan Bridge, the Pasac-Culcul in Pampanga, the Aganan Bridge in Iloilo, the Maddiangat Bridge in Nueva Viscaya and the Pigalo Bridge in Isabela.

Last month, the DPWH also opened the Sta. Monica-Lawton Bridge known as Kalayaan Bridge which connects Lawton Avenue in Makati City and Sta. Monica Street in Pasig City.

Through the Kalayaan Bridge, motorists will be spared from traffic congestion going in and out of Makati and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and Pasig and Mandaluyong City.

Meanwhile, the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge connecting the cities of Mandaluyong and Makati and Binondo-Intramuros Bridge Project, both China-funded projects, are set to be completed soon.

As of June 22, the four-lane Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge is 93 percent complete. It would be a 506.46-meter pre-stressed concrete rigid frame bridge with corrugated steel webs, replacing the temporary two-lane box truss bridge made of modular steel components dismantled in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge is now 70 percent complete, with its substantial completion expected in December this year.

The iconic structure will connect the historic districts of Binondo and Intramuros in Manila and will carry extra traffic of around 30,000 vehicles per day. It will also help extend the life of existing Jones, Delpan, and MacArthur Bridges by decongesting traffic.

The projects are part of the Metro Manila Logistics Improvement Program to address the traffic gridlock in major roads by constructing new bridges crossing Pasig and Marikina Rivers and Manggahan Floodway.

Earlier in July, President Rodrigo Duterte led the inauguration of the Central Luzon Link Freeway which connects Tarlac and Nueva Ecija within 20 minutes.

It is part of the Luzon Spine Expressway Network, which is aimed at reducing travel time from the northernmost part of Luzon, Ilocos, to the southernmost part, Bicol, by over 50 percent via the construction of a 101-kilometer high standard highway network.

In his 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte said the government is targeting to increase government spending on infrastructure from 5 percent of GDP in 2017 to 7 percent of GDP by 2022, amounting to nearly USD180 billion (PHP9 trillion) in infrastructure projects.

“We will make the next few years the ―Golden Age of Infrastructure in the Philippines to enhance our mobility and connectivity and thereby spur equitable growth and development in the country. In other words, we are going to ‘Build, Build and Build’,” he added.

Covid-19 response facilities

As the country’s journey to progress made a sudden turn due to the coronavirus pandemic last year, the DPWH has also played a vital role in responding to the pandemic as it spearheaded the construction of facilities for patients and medical workers nationwide.

Based on DPWH data, over 653 Covid-19 facilities such as modular hospitals, off-site dormitories, and isolation facilities have been erected near health facilities and on government lots. These facilities have a bed capacity of 23,117.

The DPWH aims to build a total of 816 facilities with a total bed capacity of 27,267.

The most recent mega quarantine facility that has been turned over to the local government unit was the newly-converted Zamboanga Convention Center in Pasonanca, Zamboanga City.

It has 188 beds and will provide management, monitoring, and treatment of asymptomatic and moderate Covid-19 patients.

Among the other mega facilities are located in the National Capital Region (NCR) such as in the cities of Quezon, Parañaque.

The first batch of health facilities are: the Rizal Memorial Coliseum particularly the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila; the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum Halls and the World Trade Center (WTC) both located in Pasay City.

Flood control projects, classrooms

The DPWH also completed a total of 11,340 flood mitigation structures since June 2016 which aimed at protecting flood-prone areas across the country.

Those that have been constructed include the Mandaluyong Main Drainage Project, the pumping stations in Barangays Wawang Polo and Coloong, the Flood Risk Management Project for Cagayan River, the Flood Risk Management Project for Tagoloan River, the Leyte Tide Embankment Project and the Pasig Marikina River Flood Control Project.

A total of 150,149 classrooms for elementary and secondary schools were built nationwide while another 17,647 classrooms are in various stages of implementation.

These include the National High School in Alaminos, Pangasinan, the Alejandra Navarro National High School in Davao City and the Bagong Pag-Asa Elementary School. (PNA)