Manila, PHILIPPINES – When asked whether or not he considers the Build, Build, Build (BBB) program of the Duterte administration as successful, presidential candidate and senator Ping Lacson did not give a categorical answer but pointed out that only 12 out of 118 projects were accomplished.
“Sa tanong kung matagumpay ba, out of 118 projects, ang naaccomplish lang ay 12. Kayo po ang humusga. Mga kababayan nalang natin ang humusga kung matagumpay ba,” Lacson said.
Nevertheless, Lacson said that he would continue the program especially projects which contracts have already been perfected.
“Kung itutuloy? Yes. Gawin nating better. Iboost natin, at dapat bolder. At yung mga naperfect nang kontrata, lalo na sa pipeline, meron tayong tinatawag na inviolability of contracts, hindi natin pwedeng talikuran lalo na kung ito ay may involved na foreign investments,” he added.
However, citing the national debt that has already piled up to P12.3 trillion, Lacson explained that the government needs to change its strategy in terms of infrastructure development.
“Panahon na siguro para magshift tayo from BBB to PPP, public-private partnership na kung saan hindi gagastos ang gobyerno at private initiative ang magsisimula. Maraming mga malalaking corporation na willing sila magparticipate sa nation-building lalo na sa imprastraktura,” Lacson added.
However, responding to the rebuttal of presidential candidate Norberto Gonzales, Lacson admitted that indirectly, PPP can be considered debt, which is to be paid by the Filipino people.
“Indirectly, ang PPP ay parang utang din. Ang nagshoshoulder diyan muna ay yung mga kababayan natin kasi merong toll. Kumbaga sa NLEX, SLEX, SCTEX, TPLEX, merong toll. Pero investment po iyan. Ito ay merong BOT, build-operate-transfer. Makukuha din ito ng gobyerno after 25 or 30 years.
Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo echoed the idea of Lacson but emphasizing further that the government should be fixed in order to attract investments.
“Itutuloy po natin iyong Build, Build, Build pero magbibigay po tayo ng emphasis on PPP instead of ODA [official development assistance] para hindi na utang. Pero for PPP to succeed, kailangan pong isiguro natin na na inayos natin ang pamahalaan para mas maraming investors na tumiwala na mag-invest sa atin,” Robredo said.
The vice president also said that she would focus on four areas: rural development, transportation, water resource management and climate resilient infrastructure. TNF