By Beting Laygo Dolor, Contributing Editor

The Duterte administration’s flagship Build, Build, Build infrastructure program is a complete bust, according to opposition Sen. Franklin Drilon.

Drilon said last week that despite the fanfare that came with the 75 projects under the program, not much has actually been done. Worst of all, some have even been downgraded, or even cancelled outright.

Drilon said, “maybe there was over enthusiasm at the start of the administration when they listed 75 flagship projects.” But now, in the middle of the administration, they realized that they can’t complete most of it, he added.

The lawmaker cited a Commission on Audit report that said only nine of the 75 had started actual construction.

Worst of all, the Duterte administration included projects launched during the previous Aquino administration as part of its new list under the revised program, according to the opposition leader.

The Senate minority leader slammed the program as a “dismal failure” a few months after calling the government’s performance as “terrible.”

More than halfway through the six-year term of President Duterte, only two of the original 75 projects were completed, Drilon pointed out.

Based on the revised program, there will now be 100 projects instead of 75, according to Vince Dizon, presidential adviser on flagship projects.

“We commit to start all the projects in the revised list (and) complete around 38 of them within the President’s term,” Dizon said late last week.

The rest, he added, “will either be partially operable or have substantial accomplishment moving into the next administration.”

Under the revised list, 35 projects are presently on-going, 32 will begin construction in the next six to eight months, while 21 are in advanced stage of approval or advanced stage of feasibility study.

Among the projects expected to be completed before President Duterte steps down in 2022 are the following:

  • Delpan Bridge to Napindan Channel Project
  • Pulangi 4 Selective Dredging Phase 3
  • Mactan-Cebu International Airport
  • Bohol-Panglao International Airport
  • Cagayan de Oro Passenger Terminal Building
  • Cavite Gateway Terminal
  • Communication Navigation System/Air Traffic Management
  • NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10
  • Laguna Lake Highway
  • Governor Miranda Bridge
  • Pigalo Bridge
  • Anduyan Bridge
  • Leyte Tide Embankment Project
  • Pasig Marikina River Flood Control Project, and
  • New Clark City Phase 1A

Among the big ticket projects scrapped from the Build, Build, Build program are the 18-kilometer Luzon-Samar, the 23-kilometer Leyte-Surigao, and 24-kilometer Cebu-Bohol bridges. The three were found to be “unfeasible,” according to Socio-Economic Planning Sec. Ernesto Pernia.

“What we have done is to take out certain projects that “are impossible” to implement, he said in a media briefing last week.

Pernia said the country does not have the technology to build “in very deep waters and long bridges.”

Drilon said the revised program was meaningless unless actual work was done.

“We can have a thousand projects. That’s all theoretical,” he said, adding, “I’m talking how the projects have actually started in terms of construction. It is actual construction with actual disbursements that would propel our economy.”

Administration Sen. Sonny Angara gave different figures than Pernia where expectations are concerned.

Angara said 12 projects would be completed by next year, 17 by 2021, 26 by 2022, and the rest would be completed by the next administration.

With differing figures from administration sources, Drilon said it was no wonder that “the execution is simply dismal.”

“I don’t see any substantial progress insofar as that program is concerned will be achieved,” he said.

Earlier, Drilon questioned the ability of the administration to complete the bigger projects since a mere 12 percent have begun actual construction.

During budget hearings, Drilon told Pernia that the administration’s performance was “terrible.”