President to maximize powers for ‘Build, Build, Build’

By ROGER M. BALANZA with PNA report

Due to time constraints, Malacanang is not keen on supporting a House bill granting special powers to President Rodrigo Duterte  in adopting a “national policy” in fast-tracking the implementation of the “Build, Build, Build” program on or before 2022.


Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the proposed measure is “no longer a priority legislative agenda” of Duterte, considering the time constraint.
House Bill 5456 was filed on Wednesday, November 13, by  Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda after Senator Franklin Drilon described as a “dismal failure” the implementation of projects under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.


The Duterte government has alloted PHP9 trillion for the implementation of around 100 big-ticket infrastructure projects and over 10,000 small infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.
Even without special powers, the President can still fast-track implementation of the projects, said Panelo.
President Rodrigo Duterte will maximize the use of his “available” powers to ensure the full and effective implementation of his administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program, Panelo said on Saturday, November 16.
“The President will implement and maximize what is presently available under our laws for this purpose,” Panelo adds.
Earlier, Panelo said he considered as a “good idea” the proposal by  Rep. Salceda to grant emergency powers to Duterte to speed up the implementation of the current administration’s infrastructure program.
“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,” he said.
Panelo noted that there was progress in the implementation of the infrastructure program, citing the figures recently released by Bases Conversion and Development Authority president and chief executive officer Vivencio Dizon who also serves as Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects.
Around 38 out of the revised list of 100 key infrastructure projects are expected to be completed by 2022, while 22 are “partially operational or substantially completed” and the remaining 40 would be finished “beyond 2022,” Dizon said in a Palace economic briefing on Wednesday.
Dizon also noted that 35 flagship infrastructure projects are ongoing, 32 will commence construction in the next six to eight months, 21 are in the advanced stages of government approval, and 12 in the advanced stages of a feasibility study.
Panelo was confident that all infrastructure projects “will be started within the governance of this Administration.”
“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 there for to acquire private property for public use,” he said.
“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,” Panelo added. 





Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon lambasted President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, describing it as a “dismal failure” with only nine out of 75 flagships projects under construction halfway through  the Duterte administration.

“It is sad to say that the BBB program of the administration is a dismal failure. Out of the 75 flagship projects that were proposed at the start of the administration, only nnine started construction. That is only 2 percent of the total,” Drilon told reporters in an interview shortly after the minority leader pointed at the accomplishment rate of the program during plenary deliberations on the proposed 2020 budget on Tuesday, November 12.
The “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program is a top priority program of the Duterte administration to spur the country’s economic development.
Palace slams Drilon’s baseless claim
Malacañang on Tuesday quashed the claim of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program is a “dismal failure.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo described as “baseless” the lawmaker’s statement that only nine of the current administration’s 75 flagship infrastructure projects have started construction.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has many key infrastructure accomplishments, compared to the past government led by former president Benigno Aquino III.
“Senator Frank, look at the administration you previously belonged. Six years, not a single infrastructure na nagawa. Malayong-malayo sa dami [nang nagawa ng administrasyon ngayon] (Not a single infrastructure was completed during the six-year term of the past administration. It’s far from the current administration’s accomplishments),” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
“It’s baseless. Eh marami ngang ginagawa ang administrasyon, hindi lang nine (The administration has started so many infrastructure projects, not just nine),” he added. READ MORE

Special powers for PRRD to fast-track BBB projects sought

The chairman of the House ways and means committee on Wednesday filed a bill granting President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to expedite the procurement and implementation of the 75 “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) flagship projects.In a press conference, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said… Read More

‘Build, Build, Build’ beyond 75 key infra projects: DOTr

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday rejected Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon’s claim that the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program was a failure, citing numerous completed and ongoing infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration.In a phone… Read More

Completion of 38 flagship projects targeted in 2022: BCDA




Former Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo “RDR” del Rosario, Sr. has shot down First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez for claiming credit for the Mindanao Railway System (MRS).

RDR said initial concepts of the MRS was first proposed in 1988 by then Davao City Mayor now President Rodrigo Duterte.

Reports have quoted Alvarez as saying the MRS is rising from the ground because, as then Speaker of the House of Representatives, he provided funds for the mega-project. Alvarez made the claim even as the MRS will be funded with a loan from the Chinese government.
RDR said credit should go to President Rodrigo Duterte and his “Build, Build, Build” program of infrastructures.



President Duterte is the original proponent of the Mindanao Railway System, said RDR.    
The project was first proposed in 1988 during the  administration of the late President Corazon Aquino and was backed by the Davao Regional Development Council (RDC) chaired by industrialist Jesus “Chito” V. Ayala, according to RDR.
Then, the late Ayala was the economic adviser of Duterte, who was serving his first term as mayor.
President Duterte was the original proponent of the  Mindanao Railway, said RDR on Friday, December 8, in the radio program Kontra Balanse of broadcast journalist Al Genoguin in Davao City-based radio station DXOW.
According to RDR,  the MRS concept of the RDC was initially a railway line from the Davao Region to Cagayan de Oro through Butuan City.
The MRS was proposed as a major project of the Davao Integrated Development Plan (DIDP), a special body that crafted development plans for the Davao Region chaired by Duterte.  
RDR said he provided muscle to the project with a House resolution supporting the MRS when he was the DavNor First District representative during the administration of President Ramos.  
I am happy that the MRS has now been realized under President Duterte, said RDR.
The MRS, with its initial segment (Tagum City-Davao City-Digos City) scheduled to be started in 2019, has become a hot political issue in Davao del Norte, with Alvarez claiming credit for the mega-million peso project.
Alvarez, ousted as Speaker in July in a coup and replaced by former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,  is seeking reelection in the 2019 mid-term election against the challenge of Governor Anthony del Rosario, RDR’s son.
The camp of the former Speaker claims that the Davao region segment of the MRS was funded in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2018 through the effort of Alvarez, even as it will get funds from Chinese government as part of President Duterte’s major projects under his “Build, Build, Build” program.


mindanao railway

Although it is implemented during his administration, President Rodrigo Duterte said credit for the Mindanao Railway System (MRS) should go to those who first conceptualized it and past presidents who supported the project.

The US$9 billion MRS that aims to spur the economic development of Mindanao, is one of the multi-million peso mega-projects under President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

I cannot claim credit for it, not even congressmen, said Duterte, without naming names,  in a speech during a recent gathering of businessmen at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City, as he gave a preview of some projects under his administration’s massive infrastructure building program.


The proposed 1,530-kilometer MRS project   would crisscross Mindanao with a railway system from the Zamboanga Peninsula in Western Mindanao to the Davao Region in Southeastern Mindanao.

The idea of a Mindanao railway was an infrastructure dream supported by the presidency of the late Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino that was never realized due to funding lack.

A Davao City transit system was initially proposed by the Regional Development Council (RDC) of the Davao Region decades ago in the early 90s.

But the project never took off the ground after being proposed during the administration of the late then President Aquino by the Davao RDC then chaired by the late industrialist Jesus V. Ayala during the first term of then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Then Mayor Duterte during the Benigno Aquino administration also proposed a Davao City Light Railway Transport (LRT) system, but the proposal was not acted upon by government.

The Mindanao Railway System has now been given flesh under President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

Implementation of the Mindanao-wide railway system has started to roll in the Davao Region.



The first railway component of the MRS — the P95 million Tagum-Davao-Digos (TDT) line — will be funded not by the Philippine government but by the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the local government units of Davao del Norte, Davao City and Davao del Sur are set to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on November 29 for the initial PHP5.6 billion budget for the 102-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos line, the first segment of the MRS project.

Primarily the fund will be for acquisition cost of properties affected by the project.

The CIDCA funding shoots down a claim that Davao del Norte First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez facilitated funding for the TDT line under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) when he was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  

Alvarez, ousted in July 2018 two years into his term as Speaker and replaced by former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is seeking reelection in the 2019 mid-term election.

In a bid to jack up figures in his performance card, his camp claims Alvarez during his short stint as Speaker poured P16 billion worth of infrastructure projects into Davao del Norte, including funding for the MRS TDT line, the proposed Davao-Samal Island Bridge and the Tagum City Flyover.

davao samal bridge

The P19 billion proposed Davao City-Samal Island Bridge, a 4.4-km span connecting Davao City to the Davao del Norte tourist island in the Davao Gulf, is still subject of a feasibility study.

The feasibility study funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is backstopped by the “Study on the Project for Construction of Davao-Samal Bridge” conducted by Katahira & Engineers International in 2016; and the Davao-Samal Bridge section of “The Study on the Davao Integrated Development Program (DIDP) Master Planning March 1999,” of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario who chairs RDC XI and Second District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. have urged President Duterte to fund the project under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

Gov. del Rosario said that Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua informed him during a meeting in Davao City that the feasibility study on the Davao-Samal bridge is about to be finished.

tagum city flyover

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has also dismissed Alvarez claiming credit for the Tagum City Flyover.

According to the DPWH in Region Eleven,  the P3 billion  1.4-km Tagum City Flyover has long been in its drawing board and got funding as a “Build, Build, Build” project of President Duterte.