The House Committee on Flagship Programs and Projects on Monday approved a measure granting President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to speed up the implementation of the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
The panel, chaired by Tarlac Rep. Carlos Cojuangco, approved House Bill 5456, which seeks to grant special powers to Duterte to adopt a national policy that will fast-track the implementation of flagship infrastructure projects on or before 2022.
The number of key infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program went up to 100 from the original 75, after Duterte earlier ordered his economic team to revisit the roster of proposed big infrastructures.
Around PHP9 trillion will be spent on the implementation of 100 flagship infrastructure projects and over 10,000 small infrastructure projects.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, author of the bill, said the program should be supported with special powers to fast-track the implementation, as this would provide an inclusive growth translating to poverty reduction from 21.6 percent of the population in 2015 to 14 percent by 2022.
“The ‘Build, Build, Build’ program is a work in progress but could be faster by easing procurement rigidities and empowering right of way,” he said.
The poverty incidence in rural areas is also intended to decrease from 30 percent to 20 percent in the same period, while the unemployment rate will go down to 3 to 5 percent.
“The immediate implementation of the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program will complement meaningfully to the economic and social legislations that were already passed by Congress designed to accelerate the country’s growth rate, change the socio-economic structures, ensuring ecological integrity and towards achieving peace and security,” Salceda said.
The bill proposes to declare the immediate implementation of the flagship projects of the President as of “national importance”.
It shall also seek to authorize the President to exercise special powers for three years necessary and proper to effectively respond to multiple problems as a consequence in fast-tracking the implementation of the flagship project for the economic growth of the country.
Under the measure, it shall also designate the chairman of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority as the flagship manager. (PNA)