Our country’s path to progress is a long and arduous road, and the pandemic has definitely contributed a significant delay to that progress. Despite this, the Philippines seems to continue to continue a future with better infrastructure. Surprisingly, Rodrigo Duterte’s landmark “Build, Build, Build” project has continued to achieve notable accomplishments in the first half of this tumultuous year. These included projects aimed to address the pandemic.
In his latest State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Duterte expressed confidence in the country’s fiscal state. He said that we, “are in a better position to weather the crisis caused by COVID-19.”
“We have accomplished significant infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.”
What exactly are these significant accomplishments that he is talking about?
Painting a Picture of Progress
Similar to the previous years, the data on the government’s accomplishments were presented ahead of the SONA. They were presented during the series of Pre-SONA conferences leading up to the event.
During the first conference led by the Economic Development and Infrastructure Clusters, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar bannered several “Build, Build, Build” accomplishments.
The usual metrics were presented by Secretary Villar. It painted a picture of continued progress despite the lockdowns that happened in the previous months:
23,657 KM of roads constructed, maintained, widened, upgraded, and rehabilitated;
4,959 bridges constructed, widened rehabilitated, and strengthened;
8,941 flood mitigation structures and drainage system projects completed;
180 airport projects completed, 124 projects ongoing;
189 commercial port projects, 37 ongoing.
These were the primary metrics, but Villar also presented specific projects that were completed. He also presented updates on several other projects like railways, pedestrian infrastructure and bike lanes, as well as infrastructure projects related to education.
Read: PH economy in a good position for COVID-19
Progress despite the Pandemic
What’s vital to note is that progress on all these projects happened while the government was addressing the pandemic. Many may not know this, but the DPWH went on overdrive in the past few months on COVID-19 infrastructure projects nationwide.
Several of the country’s large venues were converted into centers to help quarantine and care for patients. This included the recently completed Athlete’s Village in New Clark City. It’s good that after it served its purpose in hosting the SEA Games in 2019, the infrastructure turned into something that actually helps us contain and fight the virus.
Secretary Villar also mentioned that a total of 11 “Mega Community Quarantine” Facilities, or “We Heal as One Centers,” were also developed during the past few months.
On his official Facebook account, Villar mentioned that the DPWH has constructed 150 quarantine facilities nationwide. On top of this, several other projects like off-site dormitories for frontliners have also been built.
Achieving despite the focus on COVID-19
All these COVID-19 facilities were constructed in the span of four months. It’s important to appreciate the scale of these infrastructure projects, and their importance in the fight against the virus. Despite this focus, the DPWH was still able to continue their previous work, and only added to their long list of “Build, Build, Build” accomplishments.
Kudos to Secretary Mark and his team, and all the workers and partners striving to improve our infrastructure for a #BetterPhilippines!