Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go reminded the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), November 18, to abide by President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to ensure that infrastructure projects under the “Build Build Build” program will be ready for use to benefit the general public. The senator manifested this during the continuation of the Senate plenary deliberations on the agency’s 2020 budget.
“Nag-usap po kami ni Pangulong Duterte kagabi. Ang gusto niya, hindi lamang po ‘Build Build Build’ kundi ‘Use Use Use’ din dapat ang mga infrastructure projects,” Go said, citing the several projects that the Duterte administration is undertaking through the BCDA and the rest of the infrastructure cluster of the government.
“Makikita naman po sa presentasyon ng National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) na marami na po talagang nagawa at ginagawa ang administrasyon na ito para mapabuti ang buhay ng mga Pilipino; mga infrastructure programs na pina-fast track at ine-execute dahil alam natin na makakabuti ito sa ekonomiya at sa quality of life ng ating mga kababayan.”
Go added that the President himself does not want government projects to be hampered or delayed within his term.
“Ayaw ni Presidente ma-hamper o ma-delay ang government projects. Dapat masigurado na maumpisahan, matapos or kahit papaano ay almost matapos bago matapos ang termino. Ayaw ni President Duterte maiwan na nakatiwangwang. The public is not just after ‘Build Build Build’. They want ‘Use Use Use’,” the senator emphasized, adding that he will be the first one to investigate should irregularities arise from the projects.
“Sisiguraduhin din po natin na matapos ang mga proyektong ito at ako po mismo ang unang mag-iimbestiga kung sakaling may masasabing bahid ng korapsyon,” said Go.
“Ganyan po ang Serbisyong Tatak Duterte: mabilis, maayos, and with no tolerance for corruption. Ibahin po ninyo kami sa dati na puro tuwid na daan, pero baluktot naman at walang pinatutunguhan. Nagpaparami lang ng ‘Bill Bill Bill’ na puro debate at legislation at wala naman talagang kongkretong nagawa,” he added.
Meanwhile, during the plenary, Go said that he fully supports the development of the New Clark City sports hub, calling it “a good investment” which will benefit Filipino athletes, the country’s sports program, as well as the economy.
“I fully support the development of New Clark City, especially the sports hub which would greatly benefit our athletes. It is a good investment, as this facility will be very useful for us well beyond the time that we will be using it during the 2019 SEA Games,” the senator said.
Go, however, said that the BCDA still needs to demonstrate how it will guarantee the return of investment for the sports facilities beyond their hosting of the SEA Games.
“Pero, tama rin po ang mga punto ni Senator Drilon at kailangan itong tanungin ngayon: Paano masisiguro na ang in-invest dito para sa SEA Games hosting ay hindi masasayang sa mga susunod na taon?” Go asked.
The senator also clarified his move to suggest the recall of the BCDA 2020 budget which has already been previously approved last week.
“I understand that (as) one–if not the most–important legislative measure that goes through this chamber is the budget and it is important for us to make sure that not a single centavo is wasted,” Go said.
“Ito ay isa sa rason kung bakit ako mismo ang nagrekomenda na i-recall ang approval ng budget ng BCDA para mabigyan ng tamang venue at attention ang kapwa ko mambabatas na usisain ito, out of transparency rin sa ating kapwa Pilipinong nanonood ngayon.”
“But apart from these positive effects, let us still ask the hard questions and explain to the public why this government is spending this much and what kind of benefits will the people receive beyond this year’s events,” he said.
During his questioning, Go asked for other sources of income BCDA has aside from the subsidy it is currently receiving from the General Appropriations Act.
BCDA sponsor Senator Sonny Angara responded, saying that the government-owned and controlled corporation has its other assets and revenues from its operations. Angara added that the facilities are being packaged along with adjoining properties to enhance real estate development within the area.
As for Go’s question regarding the possibility of the sporting facilities becoming “white elephants” after the Games, Angara said that an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study, which lays out the plan for transition of the facilities, has already been conducted. He added that the Filipino community and athletes will also be able to utilize said facilities.
Citing the remoteness of the facilities, Go then asked what transportation programs are being prepared to make them more accessible to the public. Angara said on behalf of BCDA that the Manila-Clark Railway, expected to be operational in 2022, and the Subic-Clark Railway in 2024 will improve access to the facilities. A bus rapid transit is also being readied according to the BCDA sponsor.
The BCDA budget for year 2020 has been approved by the Senate after the period of interpellations in the plenary on the same day.
Go also admitted during his manifestation that while he may lack the experience as a legislator compared to his colleagues, he has been in public service for the past 21 years and he will work hard to serve the people further as a Senator.
“Kami po kasi ni Pangulong Duterte, mas gusto namin ng ‘BUILD, BUILD, BUILD’ at serbisyong ora mismo. Ibig sabihin: aksyon agad—walang tigil. Almusal, pananghalian, hapunan at pati panaginip, serbisyo sa tao ang iniisip ko. Para sa amin po, walang TULOG ang pagserbisyo,” Go said.
Go said that he is humble enough to admit that there are things he still needs to learn in terms of legislation and policymaking.
“Aminado po ako na bilang legislator ay marami pa akong dapat matutunan sa inyo lalo na mula sa mga beteranong mga mambabatas… Malayo pa ako kung ‘bill bill bill’ ang pag-uusapan. Marami pa po akong kakaining bigas para maabot ko ang ‘BILL, BILL, BILL’ o mapadami ang ‘BILLS, BILLS, BILLS’ na mai-file ko sa Senado,” he explained.
Go, however, clarified that what he lacks in experience, he makes up through hard work and his dedication to serve.
“Bago pa lang ako as legislator. Pero kapag serbisyo at trabaho ang usapan, wala akong tulugan sa serbisyo. 21 years na po ako na puro aksyon. Pasipagan ang aking puhunan. To give you perspective, I’ve been serving the people and the president for the past 21 years, puro aksyon po kami, kung ano makakabuti sa tao, ginagawa namin agad. Iyan po ang Serbisyong Tatak Duterte at magandang example nito ay ang ‘Build Build Build’ program ni PRRD,” Go narrated.