MRT-7 project (File photo)

MANILA – Acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said Wednesday President Rodrigo Roa Duterte should also be given credit for continuing and completing projects handed down from the previous administration.

Andanar made this remark amid criticism that the success of the completion of several infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program should be given to the administration of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“Every President naman nagkakaroon ng ganitong klaseng issue (has this kind of issue). The real measure of maturity pagdating sa ating pamamahala ay yung tinatawag na (when it comes to governance is) continuity of projects,” he said in an interview over PolitikoTV Channel.

He disagreed with accusations that the Duterte administration was grabbing credit for the said programs and projects, noting it was also an achievement because there have been cases where an administration opted not to carry on with them.

“Sa akin, hindi issue yung credit-grabbing, sa akin ang pinaka maganda ay tinuloy yung magandang proyekto (For me, credit-grabbing is not an issue, what is important is the good project was continued),” Andanar said.

He cited how the government was even sued for canceling in November 2010 the Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project, one of the country's most ambitious flood-control projects.

“If we’re talking about yung Duterte legacy, of course, it’s part of the Duterte legacy kasi tinuloy. Mayroon tayong mga nagdaang mga presidente na for example hindi tinuloy ang project (because they continued it. There are previous presidents for example who decided not to continue a project),” he added.

Last month, Public Works Undersecretary Emil Sadain said he was optimistic that the next administration will continue the implementation of the remaining infrastructure projects, noting that these would help rev up the economy.

Drug war

Aside from these inherited projects, Andanar said Duterte himself has scored many gains in terms of government efforts to address poverty and crime.

He cited the Duterte’s administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs as among his top accomplishments.

Andanar said it would be up to the next administration whether or not to continue the drug war.

“Depende ‘yan sa susunod na presidente kung paanong istilo ang gusto niya, but definitely mas madali nalang ang trabaho ng susunod na presidente para sa pagsugpo ng drugs (It would be up to the next president how he or she would carry it out, but definitely their work in terms of fighting drugs will be much easier),” he said.

Earlier this month, Duterte expressed hope that his successor would continue his campaign against illegal drugs, saying he is worried about the resurgence of illegal drugs.

“Ito bang (This) drugs, I hope that whoever would sit as president would continue the – if not, the ferocity that I did and I accept it, maski lang naman sana ‘yung (maybe just) a little lower than my standard kasi talagang sisirain ang bayan nating ito (because it will destroy our country). I’m so worried about the resurgence of the drug problem,” Duterte said in a prerecorded Talk to the People aired on March 1. (PNA)