ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Magandang umaga MPC, welcome sa ating weekly Economic Briefing. To introduce our guest, we have PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy. Good morning, ma’am.
USEC. BADOY: Good morning Malacañang Press Corps and good morning everyone; buong Pilipinas, good morning at welcome po sa ating weekly Economic Press Briefing co-hosted by the Economic Development Cluster and the PCOO.
Sa ilalim ng zero to 10-point socio-economic agenda ng Duterte administration, lumagpas na sa 5% ng GDP ang infrastructure spending ng bansa sa pamamagitan ng Build, Build, Build Program. Inaasahan naman na aabot ito sa 7% ng GDP by 2022. So for 50 years before the Duterte administration, the average was only half of these levels.
Layunin din ng Build, Build, Build Program na makapaghatid ng pangmatagalang ginhawa sa ilang dekadang pagkukulang sa imprastraktura. Ang pagtugon sa infrastructure gap ay siya ring magtutulay sa ating bansa tungo sa ating mithiin sa ilalim ng Ambisyon Natin 2040 na makamit ang ‘High Income Country Status’ sa loob lamang ng isang henerasyon.
Ang mga malalaking infrastructure flagship projects ay bahagi lamang ng mas malawak na Build, Build, Build Program with more than ten thousand smaller infrastructure projects that are improving lives in our provinces and the countryside.
Sa tulong ng kita mula sa TRAIN Law at iba pang improvement sa pamamalakad ng ekonomiya, lumaki ang fiscal space ng pamahalaan para ipagpatuloy at mas paigtingin ang Build, Build, Build Program.
Ngayong umaga ay makakasama natin si BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon na siya ring itinalaga bilang Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects upang ibahagi ang ilang mahahalagang update at kasalukuyang status ng ating mga infrastructure flagship projects.
CHIEF DIZON: Magandang hapon po. Good afternoon sa kanilang lahat. Unang-una po ‘no, gusto ko lang i-echo iyong sinabi ni Usec. Lorraine just a few minutes ago and ni Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo yesterday ‘no.
While we respect the, you know, the views of our co-partners in government, other officials of government, we have to disagree with the statements that have come out in the media in the past weeks and yesterday that Build, Build, Build is being claimed not to be effective ‘no. So right off the bat, I’m here to tell you that Build, Build, Build is not a—as what was said yesterday, a failure.
Now, I will be showing you in a little while facts that will support that ‘no. And I will clarify many of the issues that were raised not only in the Senate yesterday but also in other fora in the past several weeks. And I will also explain to the public the reason why we are now in the process of revising and reviewing the list of what we call ‘flagship projects’.
So let me begin by stating the first fact, that under the Duterte administration, we are projecting GDP growth ‘no, ang pag-unlad ng buong ekonomiya ng Pilipinas between 7 to 7.5 percent. May iba pang nagsasabi, hanggang 8% by 2022. This is the fastest growth rate that the country has or will be experiencing by the time the President ends his term in 2022. And this is not just being projected by our own government agencies, but is also being projected by various international agencies such as the World Bank, such as the Asian Development Bank and other very credible multi-lateral organizations.
Now, where is that GDP growth coming from mostly ‘no? It is mostly coming from government spending. Because over the past several years under the Duterte administration from 2016 up to 2018, the government has been spending more than any other government in recent memory ‘no. So ang nagpapabilis ng pag-unlad ng ating ekonomiya ay – malaki ang pinanggagalingan noon – eh dahil sa paggastos ng gobyerno. Okay, fact po ‘yan ‘no.
And a lot of that growth in the economy is also due to massive growth in the construction industry, in the construction sector. From 2016 to 2018, the construction sector has been growing by double digits ‘no, by above 12%, close to 13%. I think in 2017, it even grow above 15% ‘no—or in 2018, I’m sorry. It grew by above 15%.
So, what does this tell us? It tells that there is a lot of activity in construction, and in particular there is a lot of activity in public sector construction – meaning in government construction or government projects. Which if you recall, about 3 years ago when we launched Build, Build, Build; which was the main goal of the President when he launched Build, Build, Build through his economic team was to pump prime the economy through massive investments in infrastructure spending by the government.
And we see that very clearly – as Usec. Lorraine correctly pointed out – if we look at the past four administrations: the Ramos; Estrada; Arroyo; and PNoy administrations, the Duterte administration in its first 3 years in office has been spending double or more than double on the average what previous governments have been spending on infrastructure. Take note, this is actual spending. This is not planned spending but this is ‘actual.’ ‘Yan iyong dinisburse, ‘yan iyong ginastos ‘no, galing ‘yan sa ating DBM, okay.
And if we look at absolute figures, in the first 3 years of the—just in 2017 to 2018—or that’s probably 2016 to 2018, the Duterte administration has already spent almost a trillion pesos – spent ha, spent; not planned to spend but actually spent a trillion pesos in infrastructure compared to 380 billion in the Aquino administration; a 100 billion in the Arroyo administration and so forth ‘no.
So, these are all facts coming from our government agencies which show that when the President launched Build, Build, Build through the Economic Team way back in late 2016, the plan to spend more for infrastructure has been happening. And as they say, numbers do not lie, hindi ba? These are actual figures.
Now, if some of you will ask us right now and ask the President: Masaya ba kami? Masaya ba si Presidente? Masaya ba ang Economic Team dito sa mga numerong ito? Maniwala kayo, ang sagot namin eh hindi pa rin kami masaya. Bakit? Kasi marami pa ring kulang, marami pa ring kailangang i-build, marami pa ring kailangang gawin para maibsan natin ang pang-araw-araw na hirap na dinadanas ng ating mga kababayan.
Bakit natin dinadanas iyong mga paghihirap na ‘to? Dahil… makikita ninyo naman iyong mga figures, dahil noong nakaraang mga administrasyon at nakaraang mga taon, kulang na kulang ang in-invest at ginastos ng mga nakaraang pamahalaan sa infrastructure ‘no. And kaya nga ngayon, sabi nga ni Secretary Tugade we are at least 20 years behind – 20 years, 2 decades behind so kailangan tayong maghabol, we have to play catch up. So if you ask us, are we happy with the results? They’re okay, but we’re not happy.
And that leads me now to why we are looking at and revisiting the initial flagship projects lists. Because what we wanted to do was look at the list; revisit it. Why? Because it’s the halfway term of the President and we want to be able to do more and we want to be able to fast track and even speed up the infrastructure program in the second half of the term of the President, and we wanted to rationalize ‘no. Because you know, infrastructure projects are not easy to do. They require a lot of planning; they require long and very tedious feasibility studies; detailed planning and it takes time ‘no.
These don’t just, you know, an airport or seaport or a train, hindi ‘yan parang mushroom, na kabute na ano na lang ‘no, na umuusbong na lang ‘no. Matagal na proseso ‘yan, and we wanted to look at the projects that are most urgent, to address the most urgent needs of our people covering the entire country as much as possible and at the same time, projects that even if they will be completed after the term of the President, we must begin now . So that was the goal ‘no.
Because there is one word that is very important to the President, and that unfortunately we lacked in the past – and that word is ‘continuity.’ We all know the stories, new administration comes in; projects get cancelled; projects get discontinued; projects gets scrapped, hindi ba? And for—in some cases for political reasons ‘no. I think it is only President Duterte that has not done that ‘no. He really set aside politics and just genuinely looked at what will be good for the majority of our people – and that is what we are trying to do.
So, just to give you and to clarify some issues ‘no. We have already completed several projects. Build, Build, Build is an estimated 8 trillion program that covers thousands of projects. You can ask DPWH Secretary Mark Villar and Secretary Art Tugade who are the prime agencies involved in Build, Build, Build and they will tell you, there are thousands of roads, highways, bridges, seaports, airports, ngayon mga riles na papasok – ang dami niyan.
But we need to have a list of what we call flagship projects—by the way, we didn’t invest this ‘no, the flagship program was invented, setup… I think the first one was during the time of President Ramos. And what we are trying to do now is we are revitalizing that in order to give the government a way to prioritize and a way to focus its energies on the biggest and most urgent and game-changing projects.
So, what we have completed thus far… and these are just examples and there are a lot more ‘no. I’ll leave it up to DPWH Secretary Villar and Secretary Tugade of DOTr to give you more details. But just to give you a glimpse of completed, ito tapos na ‘to ha, tapos na ‘to. For example: The NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10, this is the elevated highway connecting NLEX all the way to R-10 ‘no, to the Port Area. That’s why now – and I live in Central Luzon, that’s why now, for those of us who live in Central Luzon, we noticed that there is less traffic in Balintawak. Why? Because there are less trucks in Balintawak. Dati lahat ng truck dumadaan sa Balintawak, papasok ng EDSA, papasok ng A. Bonifacio papuntang pier.
Ngayon wala nang dumadaan na truck doon. Bakit? Dahil sa NLEX Harbor Link, na ininaugurate na ni Secretary Villar at ni Presidente several months ago. Noong previous administration, walang nangyari dito, hindi ‘to gumalaw ‘no. Nagsimula lang ‘to early on during the term of President Duterte – and now it is completed. Completed ‘yan. I mean, dumadaan ako diyan and I can tell you for myself that I passed that road and it’s completed. But that’s only one segment, that’s just Segment 10; that will continue and the plan is to actually extend this all the way to Anda Circle in Roxas Boulevard where near Manila Hotel is, near Intramuros ‘no. So that is part of the—extension of that is part of the flagship projects. But that is already completed.
The Governor Miranda Bridge in Davao Del Norte – completed/inaugurated by President Duterte in May of 2017.
Laguna Lake Highway – if you talk to the people in Taguig and Rizal and Laguna, this was a project that practically did not move in previous administrations. But Secretary Villar, with the help of the local government units, the provinces of Rizal and Laguna completed this project in April of 2019. I think they started construction here early 2017 or late 2016. Now, it’s completed, may bike lane pa iyan. It’s the first highway with a bike lane. It was inaugurated already by Secretary Villar and the economic team. Si Senator Pia Cayetano nag-bike pa diyan, tapos na iyan, completed na iyan.
Pigalo Bridge, this is in Isabela, also completed already. TPLEX-Pozorrubio again, you know I just wanna already say this, TPLEX started way back in previous administrations. But under this administration, we completed the Pozorrubio exit – the Pozorrubio interchange – that is one stop before Baguio, before the entrance to Kennon road. Now, we are building Del Rosario and then we are going to extend that all the way to San Fernando, La Union and that is also part of the flagship project. By the way, all of these are no longer in the list of 100 because they are already completed.
Next, Bohol-Panglao International Airport. According to Secretary Tugade when the Duterte administration took over and Secretary Tugade took over as DOTR there was nothing on that site. There was nothing in the Bohol-Panglao Site, this was started I think GMA time pa ito. But there was nothing there. I think there was just dirt. And then it was started and in late 2018, it was inaugurated and now there are new flights coming in and out of Bohol International Airport and this was built with the help of the Japanese government, the JICA – again, also completed during this term, in 2018;
What is not in the flagship list is the operations and maintenance of this which under the hybrid PPP scheme of the Duterte government, it is among the more than 20 plus PPP projects that is in the new flagship list. By the way, that’s also one of the reasons why we revisited the flagship list, because we added several PPP projects to that list. So, this was just approved by the NEDA-ICC last week and it is already at the advance stages of government approval, the O and M of this airport;
The Cagayan De Oro passenger terminal. Completed by DOTR in just last July of 2019, completed na iyan, started during the Duterte administration, completed already now;
The Cavite Gateway Terminal. Also completed under a PPP scheme through the assistance of DOTR and I think this is a project with ICTSI. Why was this important, because instead of the trucks going along our roads on tracks from the Harbor in Manila to Cavite, now they can go by barge, they don’t have to go on our roads – that’s less trucks on our roads, less traffic, less congestion, less pollution – again completed in June, inaugurated in July of 2018, also completed;
The CNSATM system, you know this is an IT infrastructure for radar systems that has greatly resulted in efficiency in all our airports, this was a project and I remember this, this was a project that dates back, I think to the time of President GMA. It was not implemented and now fully implemented under the term of the President.
Why is this important, even if this is not a hard infrastructure? Because with this new system, our air traffic controllers can have aircraft land and take off from our airports more efficiently. What does that mean? It means less waiting time in our airports. I’m sure you still recall the days in past years, where we would waits so long for planes to take off and land, where planes would hover above NAIA for like 30 minutes to one hour, but now that has been greatly eased because of CNSATM – so, also completed.
Sorry, I gonna speed it up so we will have more questions.
Of course, New Clark City Phase 1-A is completed and we are inaugurating it, the President is inaugurating it this November and the SEA games facilities – some of you have probably seen it – and it’s done, completed already in 18 months. All of that completed. Minsan nga napagkakamalan na drawing iyan, pero maniwala po kayo sa akin, totoo po iyan, hindi po iyan drawing.
Okay, so, I wanna put all of these on record: Out of the 100 flagship projects in the list that we will be submitting to the senate today. There are 35 ongoing projects in the list of 100; There are 32 projects that will be commencing construction in the next 6 to 8 months, meaning these have already gone through the rigors of government approval, etc.; 21 are in the advance stages of government approval, meaning they have either approved already at the ICC level and just require another step or already advanced; And the, 12 out of the 100 are in advanced stages of feasibility study.
One of the reasons why we revisited the list of 75 is because – as Secretary Pernia and Secretary Villar pointed out – there were some projects in that list that after the feasibility studies, they were found out to be not yet feasible now. They may be feasible in the future, but not yet now, because as you very well know, especially for those of you who have covered for a long time, NEDA requires a threshold economic rate of return. Meaning if a project does not have an economic rate of return of 10% or higher, we won’t implement it. Why, because we don’t wanna build white elephants. We don’t wanna build something that is not yet feasible as of this time. They could be feasible later on, but not yet as of this time. So, we had to revisit and put in projects that are urgent that we can already start now. These include several PPP projects.
Now, in the list of 100, this is our estimation. Give or take – this is what we believed we can achieve: 38 out of the 1oo completed by the end of the President’s term. 38 out of the 100, roughly 40%; 22 out of the 100 partially operational or substantially completed. Ibig sabihin kung kalye iyan at 4 lanes iyan, may two lanes ka na, madadaanan mo na. Kung tren iyan, hindi pa tapos lahat ng istasyon, pero may mga istasyon na tapos na, puwede nang gamitin, iyon na po ang ibig sabihin ng partially operational or substantially completed;
And 40 to be completed beyond 2022, but all and dapat lakihan natin iyon, pero all kailangan maumpisahan, that is the goal. Why is that the goal, because the goal of build, build, build, –
first of all I just want to, and this will be my final.
Build, build, build never promised that we would complete all these infrastructure projects in 5 or 6 years – that’s impossible. Imposible iyon, nobody promised that. But what we promised is number one, we will start. Believe me there have been projects collecting dust in government agencies that have taken decades to start. Just to start ha – decades. So the most important step is to start. So our commitment and all will be started: 38 completed, 22 partially operational, substantially completed, 40 will most likely be completed beyond 2022. That is our honest assessment – that is our honest to goodness estimation of these flagship projects based on the estimates of the implementing agencies.
So with that, I think that’s the last slide. While we do the Q & A, we just want to maybe show you a lot of… some videos and some pictures of completed projects and ongoing projects that some of them that are already underway now.
So finally, I just want to emphasize the point: Is Build, Build, Build a failure? Absolutely not, and the number speaks for themselves. Construction is up; public spending on infrastructure is up, and this has led to faster economic growth.
Are we happy with the progress? We could do better, and we admit that. I think the President is the only leader who actually says, “You know, that’s nice but we want to do better.” Why do we want to do better? Because, you know, the difficulty, the hardship that our people endure everyday can’t wait. We have to do this quickly.
But it’s not easy; it’s very challenging. But we are committed to getting all of these started, completing as many as we can and substantially completing a significant number of these projects so that we will be building enough momentum for the next administrations to hopefully continue all of these things for the benefit of everyone. Tabi na muna natin ang pulitika; tabi na muna natin ang personal na interes. Kung ano iyong makakabuti sa kababayan natin, ituloy natin.
So that is our commitment to the Filipino people and to everybody.
So thank you very much and I’m ready for any questions.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hi, sir. Good morning. Sir, just a quick clarification because, sir, yesterday, Senator Drilon mentioned na 9 out of 75 flagship projects iyong ongoing iyong constructions. So I just would like to clarify kasi mukhang iba iyong figures natin, so paano natin pagbabanggain?
CHIEF DIZON: You know, that was in the initial report of NEDA, I think, several months ago. But like I said, very recently, the President has asked the entire economic team to revisit the list; to revisit the list and to look at the projects that we cannot even start because, you know, they don’t meet the threshold of NEDA for us to start them or build them now. And also, to look at other projects that are urgently needed including a lot of the PPP. Remember, in the previous list, halos walang PPP doon, if I’m not mistaken.
So this is why we are writing the Senate. And we want to thank the Senate, Senator Drilon, Senator Lacson and the other senators for pointing this out. Because, you know, this is a partnership – the Senate and Congress is there to look at and to exercise oversight over the Executive. And this is part of the way our government works, and we welcome this.
But now, what we are saying is, there is a revised list. And out of the revised list, this is the status.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So it’s not updated anymore, iyong hawak na figures?
CHIEF DIZON: No, no. So we are updating it today. In fact, we are writing the Senate. We are sending an official letter today, and with that letter will come the revised list.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So, sir, in terms of percentage, ilan na doon sa one hundred flagship projects iyong ongoing na iyong construction?
CHIEF DIZON: Maybe we can put up the slide. I showed it earlier, but we can put it up again.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Okay. Sige, sige, we’ll just have the figures later, sir.
CHIEF DIZON: No, no, it’s okay. It’s good to always, you know, recall and refresh. So 38 ongoing… 38 out of the 100 ongoing—no, sorry. Thirty five ongoing, sorry; 32 to commence construction in six to eight months; 21 in the advanced stages of government approval – NEDA, etc., etc.; 12 in the advanced stages of feasibility study. So this is the breakdown. And I hope the math is right and that should total a hundred.
MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Sir, si Representative Salceda is saying that he is planning to file a bill seeking for … to give the President an emergency power to fast track iyong implementation ng Build, Build, Build. So what do you think about this, sir?
CHIEF DIZON: The President, I think, within the first few weeks or first month or so of his government actually asked for that. I think it was his first SONA that he asked for emergency powers to deal with the problems that we are facing with respect to infrastructure which leads to these daily problems of traffic and congestion.
However, Congress has not acted on it. I think, right now, it is the position of the Executive and the President himself has said it na parang—I mean, medyo ano na eh, late na rin. So we’ll do with what we have. But of course, you know, any efforts on the part of Congress to assists the government is very, very welcome. You know, Congressman Salceda is one of the best minds in Congress now. And if he feels that this is necessary and this can be passed in Congress, then I’m sure the Executive will welcome it.
But right now, I think the … both the President and Secretary Tugade are not really asking for it anymore. I think that’s the position of government.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Sir, obviously may comparative between the previous and the present administration. My first question: Ano ang mukha ng imprastraktura na pinanggalingan ng kasalukuyang administrasyon? I’m talking about the previous administration. Ilan iyong mga nakatengga na hindi natapos? Ano iyong mga nasimulan na kayo ang nagtuloy?
CHIEF DIZON: If I may borrow the term of ‘dismal.’ The state of infrastructure when the President took over was dismal. I mean, we easily forget. I mean, MRT, airports, lack of seaports. I mean… you know, it doesn’t really take statistics to know that. Alam naman natin lahat iyon eh.
‘Di ba, we go through it every day whether you’re rich, poor, young, old, babae, lalake, it doesn’t matter. Kahit na ano. Dismal talaga. And ang state ng infrastructure natin hanggang ngayon ay dismal pa rin. Totoo iyon, there’s no debate. That’s why we all have to come together and work on this. There’s no choice. I mean, these things are not going to sprout like mushrooms by themselves. We’ve got to do it. We’ve gotta to get these projects off the ground and we really want to work with everybody especially our legislators, our senators, our congressmen, our governors, our local government executives. We want to work with everyone.
These infrastructures should be—Build, Build, Build should be the modern call for bayanihan. Kasi we all know that the state of infrastructure in the Philippines is dismal especially if we compare it to our neighboring countries. And it’s not going to be … six years is not going to be enough. It’s not going to be enough. It’s got to be continued. That’s why momentum is key.
That’s why—by the way, I failed to mention this, this list of one hundred by the way is an evolving list. Hindi iyan iyan nga. Kapag meron—kunyari mayroong mga bagong let’s say unsolicited proposal from the private sector na maganda at makakabuti sa ating mga kababayan, at sisiguraduhin natin na hindi naman agrabiyado ang gobyerno, then idadagdag natin iyon.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Pero sa nakalipas na tatlong taon ng administrasyon, ilan nang tulay, ilang airport, ilang mga infrastructure flagship program ang pupuwedeng sabihin na—
CHIEF DIZON: Natapos na?
HENRY URI/DZRH: Ito ay Duterte administration ang nakapagpatapos.
CHIEF DIZON: Una, Henry ‘no, kanina nagbigay ako ng mga examples ng mga natapos na. Natapos na iyong Bohol-Panglao Airport; natapos na iyong Harbor Link; natapos na ang Laguna Lake Expressway; iyong Pigalo Bridge – mga examples lang iyan. Marami pang ibang natapos ‘no. At ang makakapagsabi sa atin ng detalyeng iyan – napakarami kasi eh, Henry ‘no – ang ating mga primary implementing agencies – ang DOTr at DPWH.
According to DPWH, I think they came out with the press release just today, 9,000 ba kilometers of new road has been built since the Duterte administration took over. Nine thousand kilometers, I mean, I can’t even imagine 9,000 kilometers.
So, pero alam mo—I just wanna ano… gusto ko lang balikan iyong tanong mo ‘no. Para sa Administrasyong Duterte at lalo na sa Presidente, hindi kasi importante iyong credit eh. Hindi importante iyong sino ba nagsimula nito, sino ba ang nakatapos nito, sino ba ang—hindi importante iyon eh! Ang importante is masimulan, matuloy at matapos. Kasi iyon ‘yun eh, lalo na iyong matapos. Kasi ang dami ng nasimulan, ang dami ng natuloy, ang problema, marami ding natengga, maraming hindi natuloy, maraming kinansela dahil sa iba’t-ibang rason at anong nangyari, sino ang kawawa — tayo ang kawawa, kawawa ang taumbayan – hindi ba?
So, hindi po sa amin importante iyong ano eh… ‘yung sino nag-umpisa nito, ganun… Ang importante, gawin na natin ‘di ba? Finally, ‘di ba mayroon tayong Pangulo na napakatapang, napaka-strong willed, na ang sinasabi niya itabi ninyo na lahat ‘yang pulitikang ‘yan, ‘di ba? Gawin lang natin, simulan natin kung matapos ngayon, the best, ‘di ba ang galing! Kasi iyon ang importante eh, matapos eh! Ngayon, kung matapos sa susunod na administrasyon, iba ang mag-inaugurate, the best pa rin, ‘di ba? It doesn’t matter, what matters is we build the momentum because that’s what we need.
And you know, ang hirap kasi ng ano eh… ilang beses ko na kasi narinig eh. “Hindi naman kayo nag-start niyan eh. Hindi naman—” In the first place, the Duterte Government never claimed to have started a project that it did not start – never! Never, we just said—in fact, halos lahat nga ng proyekto in fact I think, lahat ng proyekto ng mga previous governments tinuloy eh. As far as I know huh, I could be wrong but as far as I know, walang hindi itinuloy – lahat itinuloy.
And does it really matter if this Government or this Administration or that Administration started it? It shouldn’t, hindi ba? ‘Di ba, it’s the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. I mean, I think we should stop branding governments as Aquino Government, Ramos Government, Estrada Government, kasi I think that’s where the problem now if continuity comes in eh. Because if we’re all focused on what this Administration started or what this one, then it gets into our mentality that if I didn’t start it, it’s not a priority. If I didn’t start it, it’s not important – hindi dapat ganoon!
So, I think and I think that is where the leadership of President Duterte is strongest because he really does not care about credit.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Last question, sir. Magkano na po in total ang talagang nailabas ng Duterte Administration sa infra, Build, Build, Build Project po ng gobyerno?
CHIEF DIZON: Our latest estimates, I think about a trillion already, I think. I don’t have the numbers for 2019 but I think we’re talking about a trillion for the first two years and then we’re gonna look at maybe even more than that in 2019.
But as you can see nga, alam ninyo iyong sa ano… sa economic ‘no, ang GDP natin, ‘yung paglago ng ekonomiya, nanggagaling iyan sa maraming mga sources eh: ‘Yung investment, ‘yung pribadong investment; ‘yung pagkonsumo natin lahat, ‘yung paggastos natin kapag marami tayong—‘pag lumalaki ang kita natin, gumagastos tayo nang mas malaki, tumataas ang GDP natin;
Pero ang pangatlo na napakaimportante ay iyong tinatawag nilang government expenditure. ‘Yung “G” sa economics, if you recall your college Macroeconomics. And as you can see from the data—maybe we can flash that again. The government expenditure has been growing at a steady rate and a huge part of that growth is coming from public infrastructure spending which we can see, compared to other previous Administrations, we’ve more than double that already.
So, these are hard numbers, no? These are not—these are un-debatable, ‘no. This is actual expenditure, ‘no? Now, are we happy with it? No or not? We wanna be able to spend more, we wanna be able to disburse faster, we wanna be able to spend faster, ‘no. While we’ve already achieved a lot, we’re not contented, we’re not satisfied. We want to do even more. That’s why I think, that six percent wants to go—the goal is to bring that up to even or seven and a half percent by 2022.
HENRY URI/DZRH: Alright. Thank you, sir.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Hi, sir! Good afternoon. Sir, can we go back to 2016 when the—
CHIEF DIZON: Yes.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: If there’s a triple B projects have been proposed, how many projects do we have initially?
CHIEF DIZON: In the original NEDA list, that was I think seventy. No, no, no, sorry huh – the flagship list—remember ‘no, there’s some confusion kasi, Joseph ‘no. Build, Build, Build is composed of thousands of projects. It’s total infrastructure, everything from a road somewhere, bridge somewhere, etc.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Correct.
CHIEF DIZON: But out of that universe of projects, there are what they call flagship projects. These are—
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Big ticket items, you mean?
CHIEF DIZON: Sorry?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Big ticket items.
CHIEF DIZON: The big ticket, the game changing, whatever you wanna call that. And these are obviously fewer than the universe. The initial flagship list was seventy-five. There was some there that were still undergoing of a lot of feasibility studies. I think a significant number of them were undergoing feasibility studies at that time.
So, after the midway point of the Administration, the President and his economic team decided to say, “Hey!” Like any good executive, like any good managers said, “Hey, let’s revisit. Let’s look at the list. Let’s look at these flagship projects.”
And when the President asked me to assist in that, I got involved in looking at it with the other agencies, primarily the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works, DoF and NEDA, and also other agencies. Because remember, these aren’t just transport projects. There are also projects for power, I mean… you know, our trains and our airports have to run on electricity so, we need power. We also need water. We’ve already felt the looming problems of water especially in cities like Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.
We also desperately need to improve our ICT so, ICT is also there. And urban development, we have to try and develop new cities like New Clark City and we also have to rebuild cities like Marawi which was destroyed by the conflict two years ago.
It’s really ano eh… it’s really a process eh. Like I said, these lists are evolving – they’re not stagnant, they are not cast in stone. So, for example, in that list, there are twelve in advance stages of feasibility study. If some of these projects are deemed not feasible, then we will have to shelve them for now and then look at other projects that we can do. So, it’s ano eh… it’s a devolving list of priorities.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright, let’s breakdown the seventy-five: Seventy-five initial list, how many of these have been completed? Can we get that thirty-eight from earlier thirty-five universe…?
CHIEF DIZON: Joseph, sorry huh. I know I’m supposed to answer a question here from you but seriously, I’d rather not, why, because that’s not the list anymore. Why are you asking me a list of seventy-five when we’re—the government is already telling you that the list is now one hundred and that is the ‘new list’! You know it’s—
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright. Let’s go then to one hundred.
CHIEF DIZON: Yeah.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, iyon ‘yung breakdown mo, thirty-five ‘yung—
CHIEF DIZON: Can we just put that up?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: —completed?
CHIEF DIZON: Yes.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay.
CHIEF DIZON: We will be providing the media with a whole list. Okay? We just have to just—we’ll just submit it muna. Please allow us to just submit it first to our legislators.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright. Hold on, I’d like to go back to the seventy-five because that’s your starting point, okay?
CHIEF DIZON: No, that’s not the starting point.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: N0 more?
CHIEF DIZON: No, no, no, no…
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright.
CHIEF DIZON: That’s not the starting point. The starting point of Build, Build, Build was all these infrastructure projects that needed to be built.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Uhm.
CHIEF DIZON: NEDA identified seventy-five projects, okay? Of which a portion was based from the studies, deemed infeasible. There were some that were completed like… I think there were two that were completed. I’m sure a lot of people in the media is gonna spin that again that the government only completed two even if I’ve already shown you that we’ve completed several. But that’s fine. You know, that’s up to you.
But my point is, why are you forcing me to talk about a list of seventy-five when the government is already telling you that this is a revised list? I’m not gonna answer it, Joseph.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: When was the decision made by NEDA to maybe prioritized—
CHIEF DIZON: There was a NEDA-ICC meeting last week, and it was—the new list was approved last week.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. So, iyong new list, what was the original in the new list? Ilang projects iyon based on the assessment of the NEDA? Para iyong figure mo na lang.
CHIEF DIZON: Isandaan.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: One hundred. And then, mayroon kayong—do we call it shelf –b iyong hindi pinrioritize (prioritize)?
CHIEF DIZON: Yes.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, 100 iyong binigay ninyo—
CHIEF DIZON: No, no, wala na iyong, wala na iyong—obviously iyong shinelve (shelved), wala na doon sa 100 – shelve nga eh.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright. So, may we know those projects?
CHIEF DIZON: I will have to check. I think some of them are the bridges – inter-island bridges that are just too expensive and difficult to build as of this time which includes, I think a bridge in Mindoro, a bridge connecting Leyte and Bicol if I’m not mistaken. There is a huge plan kasi ‘di ba of DPWH, it’s been a plan for so long to build and connect the entire archipelago with inter-island bridges.
But of course, you’re talking about upwards of 50 kilometers across rough seas ‘no. And when the feasibility studies were done, they were either too expensive or the technology isn’t there yet to really build them now. We’re not saying that those bridges are never gonna be built, but right now, government is better off using its resources building other things that are feasible now and that are—
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So, we can use the term ‘suspended’ for the meantime, those projects?
CHIEF DIZON: Ah yeah, yeah.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And, how many are these?
CHIEF DIZON: If I’m not mistaken, at least—no 30 were ano… I think—I’ll get the number Joseph ha, sorry ha.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: You don’t have number?
CHIEF DIZON: No, I don’t have the exact number. I don’t wanna make a mistake.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: And right now, ballpark first.
CHIEF DIZON: Ballpark, those that were shelved…
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Yeah. You’re using the world ‘shelve’ ha? Shelve, okay.
CHIEF DIZON: Yeah, bakit? Masama ba iyong word na ‘shelve’?
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Baka mamaya ayaw ninyo noong term na iyon.
CHIEF DIZON: Ah hindi, ginamit ko eh so gusto ko.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay.
CHIEF DIZON: Okay. So, I’ll give you an exact number later on.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Okay. And the reason is hindi sila parang—walang masyadong – are [unclear], mga ganoon?
CHIEF DIZON: Yeah. You know—o sige, yeah. Yes. Hindi pa siya feasible, iyong returns ‘no.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: Alright. So in terms of history lang na number of projects ‘no, we started at 75, biglang nadamihan, naging 100 plus na shelved ones, right?
CHIEF DIZON: Yes.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: So your BBB projects grew from 75 to 100 plus—
CHIEF DIZON: Again Joseph, I don’t know if you refuse to hear. I said Build, Build, Build is composed of thousands of projects. You know it’s really—
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: We’re talking about iyong mga flagship na sinasabi mo.
CHIEF DIZON: No, no. No, you didn’t say flagship. You said Build, Build, Build and that’s the problem. That’s the problem eh, because you—and I’d seen it come out in media several times Joseph. In fact, I even saw news that Build, Build, Build has been downsized from 8 trillion to 4 trillion – that’s not true.
Build, Build, Build is thousands of projects estimated at 8 trillion. The flagship program of a hundred is 4 trillion. So half of the Build, Build, Build is roughly the flagship program. I know it’s probably kind of confusing but that’s just how it is. I just… I just really, you know, I just really don’t like it when you know, things are misrepresented eh you know, and especially language is so important that’s why I have to keep on repeating myself here because… You know, it’s—I’m sure it’s gonna get printed in some other way later on ‘no, so I have to be very clear and unequivocal.
JOSEPH MORONG/GMA7: I can sense a little defensiveness from you—
CHIEF DIZON: No, it’s not defensive. It’s just because you insist on asking me questions that to me at this point are not relevant.
GILLIAN CORTEZ/BUSINESS WORLD: Good afternoon, sir. Sir, part of the flagship projects also cover water po – how many water flagship projects are there and how many of them are specifically water supply projects and how soon do we expect these projects to be finished.
CHIEF DIZON: Okay. Give me just a few seconds to look at it. I think there are about 5, if I’m not mistaken, water projects and they’re all water supply projects ‘no. Right now, they’re all for Metro Manila because we’re still looking at other projects, urgent water projects for other areas like Metro Cebu which is experiencing also a major water problem.
So like for example ‘no, Kaliwa Dam, the very famous Kaliwa Dam is a priority—is a flagship project that will commence construction next year and should be completed by 2025. It takes time ‘no, matagal ‘to eh, matagal magawa ‘to. By the way, just some trivia on Kaliwa Dam – Kaliwa Dam was approved in 1967. 1967 na-approve ang Kaliwa Dam, more than 50 years ago. And there hasn’t been a major water supply project for Metro Manila after Angat. And that’s why we’re experience this problem here – of water shortage. And we really have to rush these projects. So, that’s an example.
Another one is Kanan Dam, so there’s a Kaliwa, there’s also a Kanan; there is also a Wawa Dam, that’s in Rizal but also to supply for Metro Manila and others. Sorry, I’m just looking at the list.
GILLIAN CORTEZ/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, which of these water supply projects could be finished the soonest considering the—
CHIEF DIZON: There is a project called Sumag. It’s not a dam but it’s a pipeline in Quezon that will divert water from the Agus River Basin. You know, just to give you a background ‘no. Sorry ha if I talk too much about these details because they’re really important.
There are a lot of rivers in Luzon that get wasted because all of the water just simply flows out to sea. We’re not able to use that water which just empties into the sea. And one of that, one of those river systems in the Sierra Madre is called the Agus River System, that is straggling the Sierra Madre, Quezon, Rizal. So we need—Kaliwa is there, Kaliwa Dam is there. Sumag is a pipe that was started I think in the past administration but was—there was—I think it encountered some technical problems and there were some problems with the provincial government and it was stopped. It was not completed.
So now, we wanna complete that because will the quickest. It could be finished in less than 12 months. So Sumag Water Supply Project in Quezon.
GILLIAN CORTEZ/BUSINESS WORLD: Sir, you mentioned about a potential—this is out of the 100 ano—there is a potential water supply project in Visayas, could you elaborate on that?
CHIEF DIZON: Yeah. So we’re looking at—they’re not in the list yet, but like I said you know, this is an evolving list. Once we see that the projects are feasible and they are urgent, we add them. So we’re looking at also some water projects in the Visayas, especially Cebu.
GILLIAN CORTEZ/BUSINESS WORLD: Mga ilan po?
CHIEF DIZON: I can’t tell you yet. I’ll get back to you pagka ano… when there are more details.
GILLIAN CORTEZ/BUSINESS WORLD: Okay, sir.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, may we know the breakdown of the list of flagship projects per mode of financing, per agency, and how many projects per category? As you said, we have 5 categories sir, ‘di ba po?
CHIEF DIZON: Yeah, okay. These are ano ‘no—sorry, I can’t give you that specific breakdown now. About 70% are transport and mobility. The remaining 30% is more of equally spread over power, water, ICT, urban development and iyon… So, iyong lima ‘no.
Funding, like I said, one of the major initiatives that we’ve done is we’ve added several PPPs and there are I think at least 26 or 28 PPP projects in this list ‘no; and they comprise airports… like you know, we just approved the… obviously the Bulacan Airport, this was already approved; already signed, that’s a PPP, unsolicited; the rehabilitation of NAIA; the Sangley Airport; the Bohol Airport, the first regional airport that was approved by NEDA just last week, if I’m not mistaken.
And then you have several ODA projects and also GAA projects. So ODA, you have funding from Japan, China, some from—yeah, mostly Japan and China. Yeah, but mostly Japan. So we’ll give you a breakdown. Can we send that to you para lang the specifics are there, plus the amounts ‘no. I just don’t have the amounts with me here.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: For PPP projects, sir. You said there are at least 26 or 28, sir—
CHIEF DIZON: I think 28.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: May we know the type of contract per PPP project under the flagship list?
CHIEF DIZON: What do you mean by type of contract?
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: The Build Operate Transfer…?
CHIEF DIZON: Okay. A lot of them for the airports are O&M Contracts [Operation and Maintenance Contracts]. Because as you know, the policy of this government is the hybrid PPP model, where we build and then the private sector operates it. So, a lot of the—except for Bulacan Airport, which is a full PPP unsolicited contract, because that’s a green field project. Wala pang airport kasi doon, so itatayo pa siya. So, a lot of them are O&M contracts; some of them are your typical BOT, Build Operate and Transfer contracts, some of the railways are BOT. We’ll give you again a more detailed list, I just don’t wanna give you all the details now until we submit this to Congress within the day. So we’ll send you whole table with the project, the location, the cost, funding source and then the targeted completion time and the status.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: May we know, sir, the total cost of the list of flagship projects?
CHIEF DIZON: Right now, we are at roughly 4.2, 4.3 trillion.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Okay, may we know the biggest project in the list, sir—I mean, in terms of the cost, sir?
CHIEF DIZON: Among the biggest are the Calamba to Clark Railway, which is a ODA from the Japanese. So that’s about 800 billion pesos, the railway from Calamba all the way to New Clark City under a JICA and ADB loan; the new Manila International Airport in Bulacan is also big in terms of roughly more than 700 billion pesos; and the Mindanao Rail is also a major project. The Phase 1 is about 100 billion pesos – so those are just examples of these huge projects – and that is also ODA. So you see there’s a more rational mix, that’s why—you know, I always emphasize that this list are evolving, you know, so it’s pretty you know pointless to just keep on going back and going back and then we just—the key to build, build, is moving forward. We are moving forward and that’s the only way to go; if we keep on looking back, wala tayong magagawa dito.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: On those projects that were shelved, sir. At what stage of development were these projects shelves, sir?
CHIEF DIZON: Sorry, sorry.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: On the shelved projects, sir, comparing them—
CHIEF DIZON: Wala pa, study pa lang.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: All of those projects that were shelved—
CHIEF DIZON: Na hindi muna itutuloy oo, study pa lang iyon, kasi that’s the first step eh. When you do a project you do a feasibility study – you have to look at the cost, you have to look at how you are going to finance it, what the interest rate is going to be, what technology is gonna be used, whose going to finance it. And based on all of that, we have to make decisions.
You know, I think that’s also a testament by the way to Duterte government: That we are very honest. You know, when we say—when we first announced ito ang gagawin—other governments would probably just keep quiet and not say na ‘oops teka, hindi feasible eh. So wag muna nating gawin.’ But you know—I mean, it’s just the way it is. You know if something deemed infeasible, better not to build it than build it, right di ba?
It’s better to maybe utilize funds for something that’s feasible now and that’s also equally if not more urgent.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: How much did the government spend for this feasibility studies, sir?
CHIEF DIZON: That I can’t tell you, it depends per project, that I really don’t have that information.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: What is the assurance that the PPP projects will be continued by the next administration, sir?
CHIEF DIZON: You should ask the next administration. But having said that—but it’s true—we can’t assure that, right? I mean—you know, there’s no hundred percent assurance.
But what we are trying to do now is build momentum. Why is it important to build momentum? Because momentum leads to continuity – because if a project is not started, it’s a lot easier not to do it and not to continue it, right? But if a project has already been started and there is significant progress in that project, it’s a little bit more—I mean, believe me, there have been projects in the past that were started but discontinued; but it’s a little bit more difficult to discontinue a project if there is already substantial progress – that is the goal. That is the goal: To really to build momentum moving into 2022.
But again, I have to repeat: we’re not going to be able to finish all of these projects. I’m saying that on the record right now. This 100, not all of them are gonna get finished.
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: Sir, from the initial 11 that is under construction, the number now is 35, can you give us an idea what changed?
CHIEF DIZON: Sorry?
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: From the initial 11 that is under construction, the number is 35 now, the one you presented, so what changed, why did it triple—
CHIEF DIZON: Well, nadagdagan iyong projects na nilagay na sa flagship list. That’s the reason.
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: Tapos, sir, from the initial 8 PPP projects doon sa 75, naging 26 to 28.
CHIEF DIZON: Sorry, paulit?
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: Sa PPP, we are talking about PPP project, sir?
CHIEF DIZON: Ganun din iyon. I’s the same rationale, it’s—you know, if you are running a business, you got a three year plan, you look at that, you say, you’ve listed a couple projects that you wanna do. You look at it after—sorry, you’ve got a six year plan and you are running a business, you got several projects, you look at it after three years and you say, ‘hey,’ you know, ‘this one, parang wag muna ito.’ There are other things we wanna do, there are other urgent needs that we have now.
There are PPP projects that have been submitted that make sense, that address an urgent need, let’s do that.
This is just being really honest. It’s just an honest-to-goodness dialogue with you and with the general public, with the Filipino people. And I’m not saying—this list this won’t be—you ask me maybe 6 months from now, that probably won’t be the same list.
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: Sir, but there was an initial hesitation regarding PPPs eh.
CHIEF DIZON: No, there was none.
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: Because it was always presented as low and di ba iyong 4 kilometer roads, it took four years to complete during the Aquino administration, that was the failure of PPP.
CHIEF DIZON: Yes, but those were not hesitations. Those were facts that being laid down. The experience of previous governments, PPPs took a long time to get approved; and second, they were riddled with very disadvantageous provisions that exposed future governments to potentially huge liabilities, we have seen it. We have seen it already, how much have the government paid in arbitration cases left and right because of provisions such as this?
The economic team, led by Secretary Dominguez, just laid down the new policy: that PPPs must be – as Secretary Dominguez always says, PPPP [Public Private Sector Partnerships for the People]. And what does that mean: they are advantageous to government – they don’t have these disadvantageous provisions especially those that impose very stiff fees on the using public and we are able to get the projects off the ground faster.
But now as you can see, now that the economic team has addressed those concerns, now there are a lot more PPPs. Like what you said, they tripled… or more than doubled.
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: Sir, I’m sorry, I know you said you refuse to answer this question but I think this is a pertinent that must be asked, because it was the government who chose the 75 projects, initially. And then, you ended up finishing only two in the span of three years. So what happened? We just want to know if the feasibility studies yielded that it’s not feasible, it’s fine. But we just deserve, the public deserves an explanation why this happened. So why did this happen?
CHIEF DIZON: Well, it happened because out of the first 75 that were initially approved by NEDA, that was the result. It’s the result. Nobody is disputing that result. Nobody is disputing it. But what we have also told you today, very clearly, is that several projects have already been completed.
For example, I will give you an example ‘no, Bohol Airport was not part of the 75. But to our mind, is that a flagship project? Yes, it is.
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: So did you choose the wrong projects to highlight because that wasn’t—
CHIEF DIZON: Hindi initial 75? Yes, yeah. I’m sure that’s going to be the story tomorrow, but yes. We’re being honest. That’s why we have to revisit. ‘Di ba we chose, for example, those bridges that are infeasible. But we are honest enough to tell everybody that, ‘Hey, it’s not feasible pa eh.’ Hindi ba, hindi pa siya feasible so huwag muna nating gawin.
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: Sir, what challenges do you see or did you encounter in the past, did you see, regarding this infrastructure push and how do you plan to address those?
CHIEF DIZON: Sorry, what challenges? Naku, ang dami, isang oras tayo dito!
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: Challenges did you see. Like for example, sa approval process—hindi, sir, iyong mga … the main project, main problems. I mean, is it the approval? What slowed down the projects and how do you plan to—
CHIEF DIZON: You know, in the past, ang government approvals have really been, you know, wanting – to put it diplomatically – they’ve been wanting. And the President was the first one to call that out, ‘di ba? ‘Di ba lagi siyang nagsasabi: ‘Ang bagal-bagal ng ganiyan, ganiyan, kaya ako nagagalit!’ – totoo iyan eh, mabagal talaga.
Mabagal talaga, kaya nga we fought so hard to pass the anti-red tape and all these ease of doing business legislations because talagang, you know, government to a great extent is so layered and so bureaucratic that it really takes a long time for these projects to get off the ground, so that is a major challenge. Now we are trying to address that.
And I think, and maybe I’ll ask NEDA to later on give you the statistics. I think, compared to any government in the past, I think this administration has approved the most, through NEDA. But again, are we gloating? Are we patting ourselves on the back, saying great job? No, we are not, because kulang pa rin. We still have to push more.
DREO CALONZO/BLOOMBERG MANILA: Sir, but the figures say – 37 of the 75 were approved by the NEDA Board. So that’s just a little over half. So is that fast approval? What happened? And what can be done in the future to fast track—
CHIEF DIZON: I will get my statistics very accurate. I will show you what previous governments have approved versus what we have approved. I won’t say any numbers now, but I can tell you, it’s a lot – not more.
Now, is that fast? My answer to that: No, it’s not. It’s not. It’s still slow. We acknowledge that – it is still slow. We got to do it faster. We got to get these things done faster, so ano talaga mahirap – that’s one major challenge. Other challenges, obviously the biggest challenge for infrastructure is right of way – that’s the biggest challenge.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, clarification po. Iyong 4.2 trillion sir, tama po ba iyong cost ng flagship—
CHIEF DIZON: Yes, that is the estimated cost.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Estimated cost. For government side lang po ba iyon, sir?
CHIEF DIZON: No, no, that’s everything. That includes the PPPs. That includes the Bulacan airport of about 700 billion. That includes the Bohol Airport, the NAIA rehabilitation, includes the MRT 7, yeah, includes – PPPs.
Remember, ano iyon ha, on funding ‘no, on funding, just to, kind of clear this up: The priority of the government is to build the projects as fast as possible. Okay? That’s the first order of business – to build. Once a project is identified, now the government has to look at it and say, ‘Okay, what’s the fastest way to do this? Is it through the budget? Is it through borrowing from another country like Japan? Is it through borrowing from ADB? Or is through a PPP? So government, the economic team has to grapple with all of those factors in order to come up with the decision, in order to move a project forward.
But the most important thing is that we all agree that we have a list of projects that we need to build as fast as possible. And now, we got to then balance it by looking for funding sources for it, whether from the private sector or from our own funds or from borrowing abroad. So ano eh, it’s a very complex decision process, but we’ve just got to do it faster and we’ve got to get these projects off the ground faster. And that’s what this government is bent on doing.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Last na lang, sir, from me. Doon po sa mga list ng shelved projects, ilan po talaga iyong number na shelved projects, sir?
CHIEF DIZON: I will check with NEDA. Sorry, I’ll check.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Kahit ballpark figure na lang, sir.
CHIEF DIZON: Alam ko, out of the 75, there were around 20 plus that were not included in this one hundred list. A lot of them were, because of feasibility studies…well, two of them as you’ve always point out, were not included anymore because they’ve already been completed. But the others, I’m not sure. I will have to get back to you. I will find out from the agencies. Because ano iyan eh, the agencies – DPWH, DOTr and the other agencies – they make the call. They say that, ‘Okay, initially this is a flagship project. After, you know, maybe some challenges that were met, you know, there’s a better project that’s more urgent, we can start now. Let’s put that.’
This is just a process that we have to go through just like any organization. You have to go through a process of revisiting, of reassessment; and this is the result.
BERNADETTE NICOLAS/BUSINESS MIRROR: Sir, sorry, last na last na talaga. Aside from the bridges sir, na na-shelve from the … comparing the new list and the old list sir, ano pa po iyong pinaka-notable doon sa mga na-shelve na projects, sir?
CHIEF DIZON: I think there was a water project. I think—another water project. Sorry ha, I don’t want to …maingat kasi akong magsabi ng mga impormasyon na hindi ako sigurado eh. So there were—can we just get back to you? We’ll get to NEDA and ask for that detailed list, and then send it to the PCOO so that they can distribute it.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Sir, iyong pag-revise ng list—in coming up with the list of one hundred rather, of flagship projects, was it a matter of re-prioritizing? Kumbaga, did the new projects in the list come from the bigger, as you mentioned, universe of projects already existing in the …
CHIEF DIZON: Partly yes.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILS: Eight trillion, iyon iyong tama?
CHIEF DIZON: Partly yes. And some were also new, like the unsolicited that came in, which were not part of the original—
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Is that also the reason doon sa spike biglaan doon po sa ongoing construction? Kasi as of April nga, eleven lang ‘yung ongoing construction and then now—
CHIEF DIZON: Yes!
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Biglang ano… because they were already being constructed but they were outside that list?
CHIEF DIZON: Yes.
INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHILIPPINES: Okay. Thank you, sir.
CHIEF DIZON: That’s right.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Good afternoon, Mr. Dizon.
CHIEF DIZON: Yes, ma’am. Nakakatakot po—
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Yes. Earlier—Yes, sir. Mr. Dizon, please pay attention.
CHIEF DIZON: I am.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: [laughs] Sir, you have—Earlier, you have mentioned it’s not a failure, this Build, Build, Build Program. So, kuntento kayo sa performance?
CHIEF DIZON: Hindi po.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: So, you’re not. It’s just, hindi po? No elaboration on that matter?
CHIEF DIZON: I don’t know how to further elaborate on that; but let’s just put it this way, ma’am: We disagree that it is a dismal failure; and the numbers I think, speak for themselves. Infrastructure spending is up, way, way up – double, in fact, more than double. And this has resulted in real gains in the economy, it’s very clear.
But ‘yung sa tanong po na, ‘kuntento po ba kayo?’ Hindi po. Kaya nga po namin—kasi kung kuntento po kami, wala na ho kaming gagawing pagrepaso ng ‘tong mga listahan na ‘to. Hindi na—basta, bahala na lang kung ano na lang matapos kung kuntento po ang Pangulo at ang kaniyang team.
Pero dahil nga po hindi kami kuntento, nagkakaroon ng reassessment. Kumbaga sa ano… retreat eh parang inward ano ulit—we want to see, we wanna look in our hearts and see are we doing enough? And we feel that we are not, ‘no? We need to push some more, we need to get more projects off the ground, we need to build more momentum.
And I think that is the clear differentiator of the President and his team: That we are willing to stand in front of the public and say, ‘you know it’s okay but you know, we can do more and we should do more.
So, ‘yun lang po, ma’am ang aking pag-elaborate.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Okay, sir. You have mentioned lahat ng mga infrastructure. Now, you have not mentioned what is the goal of this program? We know that this will be the Duterte legacy come a time.
CHIEF DIZON: I think, the goal, the clear goal and the President has articulated this several times, is to build infrastructure, to build, build, build, to make the lives of every Filipino better and more comfortable. That is the end goal. At the end of the day, this is not just about building an airport or building a port, or building a bridge. It’s to make the lives, especially the daily lives – ‘yung pang araw-araw na pamumuhay ng ating mga kababayan eh mapabuti naman natin.
So, that is really the goal of infrastructure and that’s why it leads me again to answer your question: Kuntento ba ang gobyerno? Hindi po. Kasi ang dami pa ring naghihirap sa traffic; ang dami pa ring pumipila sa MRT. Hindi ba nag-improve na naman pero hindi pa rin doon sa gusto ng Pangulo na talagang parang first world na tayo, wala pa tayo dun. But it will take time. Kaya nga po hindi kami kuntento kasi ano eh… ‘yung time eh dagdag na pahirap ‘yun sa mga kababayan natin and ano na eh… I think, you know our people have suffered enough and we really need to just keep on pushing this and just working, doing whatever we can to get these things built as fast as possible.
ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Maraming salamat—
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Sir, last na lang.
CHIEF DIZON: Yes, ma’am. Opo, okay po.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: To add more ‘no. Kasi parang sinasabi n’yo—I’m asking the goal. So, dagdag natin dito, sir, if I may?
CHIEF DIZON: Yes po.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: You’ll not get mad.
CHIEF DIZON: No, ma’am.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Reduce poverty!
CHIEF DIZON: I’m sorry. Oh, yeah!
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Poverty, you did not mention.
CHIEF DIZON: Absolutely! Reduce poverty. Absolutely! That is a macro goal: definitely to reduce poverty. There are goals to reduce poverty, improve our competitiveness, etc. But at end of the day as they say, we just want to make the lives of people better. And that—and giving them higher incomes, make—having less people below the poverty line, that’s also part of it. But ‘yung ano lang… ‘yung madali nating maintindihan, madali nating ma-grasp, talagang mapabuti lang natin ang buhay ng mga kababayan natin. I’m sure si Usec. Lorraine, paulit-ulit na… I think she was even one of the first people who coined comfortable life for all.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Sir, just a short—
CHIEF DIZON: Agree po ako.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Yes. Just a short answer.
CHIEF DIZON: Reduce poverty.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: How many percent are not completed?
CHIEF DIZON: Okay. Can I just go back to that—
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: Sir, later na lang?
CHIEF DIZON: So—we showed it kanina ‘no? We show—Madami pa po, napakadami.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: [off mic] Percentage.
CHIEF DIZON: Yeah. Out of the flagships, obviously hundreds of those are not yet completed, ‘di ba?
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: [off mic] Unclear.
CHIEF DIZON: Kasi ‘yung mga completed wala na sa list eh, completed na ‘yun eh.
VANZ FERNANDEZ/POLICE FILES: [off mic] Thank you.
ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Salamat, sir.
CHIEF DIZON: Okay. Thank you.
ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Magbibigay naman ng handouts mamaya eh. Maraming salamat po, BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon.
CHIEF DIZON: Thank you very much.
ALVIN/RADYO PILIPINAS: Maraming salamat, Usec. Lorraine Badoy.
Source: PCOO-NIB (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)