Special powers for BBB program, no longer a priority of Duterte – Panelo
Maris Federez • November 17, 2019 • 297
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has turned down the bill that will give the president special powers to hasten the Build, Build, Build Program.
House Bill No. 5456, filed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, seeks to grant President Rodrigo Roa Duterte special powers to speed up the implementation of the Build-Build-Build program before he steps down in 2022.
“While we respect the wisdom of Congress and laud the gentleman from Albay in seeing the importance of this flagship infrastructure program of the current government, we consider this proposed measure belated and no longer a priority legislative agenda of the President, given that we only have less than three years left in office,” said Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement released on Saturday (November 16).
“The President will implement and maximize what is presently available under our laws for this purpose,” Panelo added.
He further noted that “one of the inherent powers of the State is the power of eminent domain where pertinent government offices, through the Office of the Solicitor General, may expropriate or initiate proceedings, therefore, to acquire private property for public use. This power is particularly essential in securing rights of way, an issue that hampered the construction of vital infrastructure. The current agencies involved in the infrastructure program are presently utilizing this process.”
The statement also reads that “the Build-Build-Build program is now rolling with 35 ongoing constructions; 32 projects about to commence construction within 6-8 months; 21 in the advanced stages of government approval and 12 in the advanced stages of feasibility studies.”
Panelo added that the administration expects 38 projects to be completed by 2022 and 22 will be partially operational or at substantial completion.
He further said that while 40 are to be completed beyond 2022, all projects will be started within the governance of this administration. /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano called out Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for his statement that the implementation of the Build, Build, Build program was a “dismal failure”.
Cayetano said Drilon’s claim was fake news, pointing out that the Duterte Administration has implemented more infrastructure projects than the past administrations.
“Sa budget pa lang makikita mo na yun. Sa sincerity andiyan din. It’s being done not just for politics but to give people. A safe and comfortable life. Ang tiningnan lang ng senado iyong flagship programs alone and then tiningnan lang nila ano iyong naumpisahan ano iyong hindi,” Cayetano said. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon believes that there is a problem with the Duterte Administration’s manner of spending in terms of the implementation of government infrastructure projects.
Drilon said he will be checking if the 75 flagship projects of the administration, which the Senate is yet to receive the list of, are all funded by China.
Drilon insists that it is very evident that there was an underspending on the part of the administration.
“The contribution of government spending to our economic growth is not being met not because there are no funds available, but of course the funds appropriated are not being spent,” the senator said.
The senator earlier called the “Build, Build, Build” program a “dismal failure” as there are only nine out of 75 initial flagships projects under construction halfway into the Duterte administration.
Senator Sonny Angara, on the other hand, said the administration must review the big projects lined up and replace them with doable and more feasible projects.
From 75 infrastructure projects, 100 more implementable projects may be started under the Duterte Administration.
Angara said several problems have slowed down the implementation of the flagship projects.
“Yung mga feasibility study […] yun ang natatagalan. Yung ibang construction – yung right of way, I think, is one of the biggest bottlenecks,” he said.
The nine projects that the administration has already started are the three road projects in Clark City, the construction of Binondo bridge, the rehabilitation of Estrella Bridge, and the construction of the new terminal at the Clark International Airport. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
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