Business Economy

Duterte’s magnificent infrastructure development program MUST continue past 2022

PhilSTAR columnist Boo Chanco can’t seem to decide on his stand as he is now issuing seemlingly grudging praises for Department of Transportation Secretary Art Tugade. In his piece today “Essential public transportation”, Chanco goes as far as asserting that “Sec. Art is a vast improvement over from DOTr Sec. Jun Abaya. They had almost the same amount of time to work on their projects, they had the same bureaucratic rules and political interference to deal with, but Sec. Art is starting to deliver results.”

Indeed, Sec. Art is completing projects former Sec. Jun should have completed the measly four-kilometer MRT2 Extension to Masinag in Antipolo with no right of way problem. The two North Rail segments to Clark are in full construction mode. PNR is modernizing its trains with new ones from Indonesia. MRT3 rehabilitation is about to be completed.

Like or hate the Duterte administration? Biased perhaps Chanco is, but we all know why. Still it cannot be denied that as it is about to step down, President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet has accomplished more than the previous administration specially in infrastructure development. The morons in the Opposition keep asking where. These are, after all, Imperial Manila people who believe the Philippines has only two regions, the National Capital Region (NCR) and all the rest.

The Opposition’s members need to be reminded that the Philippines is an archipelago. Most of the improvements are in the regions where they are badly needed. Nonetheless, by 2022, the light rail system will be a closed loop. This should’ve been finished during the administration of Duterte’s predecessor, former President Noynoy Aquino (under which former Secretary Abaya served) if only they did not give in to the wishes of the Ayalas to have the common station at Trinoma. Then you have the additional bridges crossing the Pasig River which takes vehicular volume off EDSA. The subway has also broken ground.

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The Yellowidiots keep on boasting about former President Noynoy Aquino’s projects but this is one they can aspire to inaugurate — provided they win the election. Fat chance of that happening. Chanco hates Duterte with a compunction and doesn’t bother to give credit to the fact that the tax reform program and the commitment to spend 5% of GDP on infrastructure made the difference. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez hasn’t been winning accolades like his predecessors but the credit for Build Build Build BBB should go to him because of the first two reasons and his fiscal management skills.

The question now is what happens next? We need continuity as the infrastructure gap still exists. Thirty years of neglect is not solved in six years. The change in the politico-economic structure is necessary. We can’t afford to lose good men in government. Dominguez had short stints in government in the past because he’s not one to tolerate politicking. He wants total control. Duterte guaranteed him that and he delivered. Tugade made his billions in supply chain management and logistics. He’s cut from the same cloth as Dominguez. Both these officials can do more even if they are in their senior years. It is thus imperative that what has been started is continued for another six years.

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