BIG-TICKET PROJECTS. Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar reports the government’s accomplishment under flagship “Build, Build, Build” program during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Talk to the People on Monday night (Aug. 3, 2021). Duterte lauded Villar for a job well done after pushing big-ticket infrastructure projects. (Screengrab from RTVM)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte commended Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar for pushing the big-ticket infrastructure projects in the country under the government's flagship “Build, Build, Build” program.

"You know what pareho kayo (all of you are) top performers. But in terms of largest projects, natural, it should always be the DPWH. Ang galing mo (you are excellent)," Duterte told Villar during his pre-recorded public address aired on Monday.

"I would like to say, on behalf of the grateful nation sa mga tao kagaya ninyo, ang pera ng tao talaga nakikita (to those people like you, we really see where the people's money goes)," he added.

In his report to the President, Villar said the average spending of the DPWH for the past five decades is at 2.5 percent of the country's total gross domestic product (GDP) but it has been increased to 4.93 percent reaching PHP3.4 trillion from 2016 to 2019 under Duterte administration.

Citing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, Villar said the Philippines still recorded a low public investment compared to other Asian countries.

Villar said the government has targeted to reach the IMF's recommended public infrastructure spending expenditure of up to 5 percent of the total GDP.

"At kung susumahin po ninyo, ang total spending ng ating bansa sa huling dalwang dekada ay mas maliit pa rin kung ikukumpara sa spending natin sa huling apat na taon na nakaupo po kayo Mr. President (And if you sum it up, the total spending of our country in the last two decades is still lower compared to our spending in the last four years that you have been sitting Mr. President)," Villar said.

Infra improvements

Villar added that the agency's actual disbursement has increased up to 209 percent with actual accomplishment worth PHP2.5 trillion of projects.

There has been a huge improvement in the government's right-of-way (ROW) strategies under Duterte's leadership, he said.

The government has been able to address ROW issues and streamlined processes on infrastructure projects that benefitted the people.

These improvements, he said, include the issuance of a right-of-way manual.

The DPWH also pioneered the infrastructure ROW management application for automated documents, enhance monitoring ROW acquisition, and the use of geo-tagging in infrastructure projects.

Through the government's flagship program Build, Build, Build, Villar said there are about 6.5 million jobs that have been generated for the past five years, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Villar said 212 airport projects, 446 seaport projects, 10,376 flood mitigation structures, 26,494 kilometers of road, and 5,555 bridges have already been completed under the “Build, Build, Build” Program.

Apart from regular infrastructure projects, the DPWH has been at the forefront of building the country's quarantine facilities and modular hospitals, and other Covid-19 treatment facilities amid the pandemic.

The massive infrastructure under the program also established the country's strong economic capacity and create more jobs for Filipinos. (PNA)