Build Build Build: Strong start, stronger finish

The government’s Build Build Build initiative, meant to usher in the golden age of infrastructure in the country looks to end on a high note, with its architects not letting up on its final year.

With thousands of projects completed, more infrastructure developments that would further facilitate economic growth and provide connectivity are poised to become a reality in the coming months.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the two primary agencies leading the administration’s massive infrastructure charge, have committed to keep the momentum going even as the Duterte administration’s term nears its end, with a slew of big-ticket projects still eyed for completion and inauguration.

Under the leadership of Secretary Mark Villar, the DPWH, for its part, was able to accomplish public infrastructure projects amounting to P2.5 trillion and generate as much as 6.6 million jobs nationwide from 2016 to 2020.

The agency delivered the construction, maintenance, improvement, and widening of a total of 29,264 kilometers of roads from July 2016 to May 2021.

In the same period, the DPWH was also able to construct, widen, rehabilitate, replace, and retrofit 5,950 bridges nationwide.

A total of 11,340 flood-prevention, mitigation, and control projects were also completed all over the country, while 223 new evacuation centers were built and are now benefiting calamity-stricken communities and areas with high cases of COVID-19.

Slated for completion for the remainder of year is the 565-meter Lawton Ave.-Global City viaduct which is part of the Bonifacio Global City (BGC)-Ortigas Center Link Road project.

The P5.72 billion project, which will cut travel time between BGC and the Ortigas Central Business District to 12 minutes, also includes the Sta. Monica-Lawton Bridge which was opened last June, and the rehabilitation and widening of Brixton to Fairlane St.

Also eyed for completion before the end of the year is the P1.15 billion widening of the 3.3-km Nichols Field Road from four lanes to six lanes.

With its completion, adjacent thoroughfares like EDSA, South Superhighway and C5 will be decongested and travel time going in and out of BGC will be lessened.

Another project on the DPWH’s pipeline to be finished within the year is the Mindanao Avenue Extension (Segment 2C), a 3.2-km four-lane divided highway that will reduce travel time between Quirino Highway and General Luis Road to 20 minutes.

For next year, scheduled for completion are the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, Laguna Lake Highway, and the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge.

Villar promised that by the time President Duterte steps down next year, the public may expect the completion of the ongoing projects consisting of 15,134 kilometers of road construction, rehabilitation and widening; 1,859 bridge rehabilitation, retrofitting, replacement, and widening; 4,155 flood-control projects; 17,647 more classrooms; 186 school workshop buildings; and 99 evacuation centers.

The DOTr, led by Secretary Arthur Tugade, has also been making significant strides in fulfilling the promise of providing “a comfortable and convenient life for Filipinos” as far as transportation is concerned.

Since July 2016, the DOTr, through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, has already completed over 121 airport projects, while over 424 seaport projects have likewise been finished through the Philippine Ports Authority.

In the road transport sector, the agency said game-changing initiatives have been implemented, including the opening of the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, touted as the country’s first land port, a bike lane network, and a revitalized and more efficient EDSA, with the introduction of the EDSA Busway.

A number of big-ticket railway projects are also ongoing, including one existing rail line undergoing massive rehabilitation.

For this year, the MRT-3 rehabilitation as well as the Common Station project are eyed for completion.

The MRT-3’s rehabilitation project will restore the rail system to its original high-grade design.

Located at the north end of EDSA, the Common Station, meanwhile, marks the intersection of four railway lines–-LRT-1, MRT-3, MRT-7, and the Metro Manila Subway–which aims to provide a seamless transfer of passengers from one rail line to another.

In the aviation sector, slated for inauguration within the year are the Zamboanga International Airport, General Santos International Airport, and the Bicol International Airport.

Construction, expansion and improvements of some seaports are also scheduled to be finished before the year ends, according to the DOTr.

Tugade has committed that the DOTr would exert all efforts to finish what it started, fulfill what the government has promised, and deliver the Build Build Build program.