“Can we fix it?” asked Bob the Builder. The crowd goes, “Yes we can!”

Sadly, it is apparent that there is an inside joke existing between us Filipinos that could testify that majority of the roadworks, infrastructural upgrades, and etc. would only happen if the election is around the corner to which local officials become excited to flaunt their projects right before the public eye to witness and marvel at, reaping in multitudes of praises and more. In fact, this has become an unspoken tradition for them. But true to his nature, President Duterte has broken this tradition and started to roll out his planned projects even before May 2022, the next Presidential Election.

Dubbed as future ‘Golden Age of Infrastructure’ for the Philippines, Duterte’s planned, approved, and set of projects are expected to be rolled out by 2018, estimated to amount to more than a whopping eight trillion pesos. The three-year infrastructure program, ‘Build! Build! Build’, launched in early April 2017, aims to rejuvenate and add roads, airports, and other necessary areas of the country to uplift it at face value as well as enticing more foreign investments of which in turn would benefit the Philippine economy in the long run, tripling the effort and mass of construction initiated by the previous Aquino Administration. Even the construction sector is giggling over the huge buzz this has created as it means more contracts for them to work on. Ultimately, the goal of such massive expenditure is to push and usher in growth to become a more modern, a more globally competitive country that can level up to its neighboring countries that have already become hubs for many international markets as well as providing better services to the locals.

And the final tally on the approved and soon to be implemented high impact and prioritized projects? It’s only up to 75. These 75 projects have been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), chaired the President himself and presided over by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and is only a fraction of the thousands listed down in the Chapter 19 of the PIP last June 2017, becoming the Infrastructure Flag Ship of the current administration. These are then segmented into three categories: NEDA ICC approved/for NEDA approval, NEDA approved projects, and the for ICC processing/approval projects which include terminals, bridges (6 that will link entire country), government center, railways, BRTs, expressways, airports, and housing. Here’s the official list of the 75 projects:

NEDA BOARD APPROVED PROJECTS

  • PNR North 2 (Malolos-Clark Airport-Clark Green City Rail)
  • New Centennial Water Source – Kaliwa Dam Project
  • Clark International Airport New Terminal Building Project
  • Bonifacio Global City to Ortigas Center Road Link Project, Phase I, IIA & IIB (Sta Monica-Lawton Bridge)
  • MRT-LRT Common Station Project
  • Metro Manila BRT – Line 1 (Quezon Avenue)
  • Metro Manila BRT – Line 2 (EDSA/Central)
  • Cavite Industrial Area Flood Management Project
  • Chico River Pump Irrigation Project
  • Iloilo Airport
  • New Cebu International Container Port
  • New Bohol Airport
  • Bacolod Airport
  • Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project, Phase II
  • Panguil Bay Bridge Project
  • Laguindingan Airport
  • Davao Airport
  • Mindanao Rail Project (Phase 1) – Tagum Davao Digos Segment

ICC APPROVED/FOR NEDA BOARD CONFIRMATION PROJECTS

  • PNR South Commuter Line (Tutuban-Los Baños)
  • PNR Long-haul (Calamba-Bicol)

FOR ICC PROCESSING/APPROVAL PROJECTS

  • Mindoro – Batangas Super Bridge
  • Aqueduct No. 7 (AQ-7)
  • Ipo Dam No. 3
  • Clark-Subic Rail
  • Clark Green City Government Center
  • Clark Green City Mixed-Income Housing
  • Clark Green City Commercial Center
  • North Luzon Expressway East, Phase I and II
  • Binondo-Intramuros Bridge
  • Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge
  • Metro Manila BRT – Phase 3 (BGC-NAIA Segment)
  • Manila Metro Line 9 (Mega Manila Subway Project – Phase 1)
  • Improvement of remaining sections along Pasig River from Delpan Bridge to Napindan Channel
  • Regional Fish Port Project for Greater Capital Region (Upgrading / Rehabilitation of Navotas Fish Port Complex)
  • Ayala Bridge
  • Pandacan-Sta Ana Bridge
  • Blumentritt-Antipolo Bridge
  • Sheridan-JP Rizal Bridge
  • Kabayan-Katipunan Bridge
  • Reposo-Guatemala Bridge
  • JP Rizal-Yale Bridge
  • G Gabriel Mercury Ave Bridge
  • Robinson Bridge
  • East-west Bank Bridge 1
  • East-west Bank Bridge 2
  • Circumferential Road 3 (C3) Missing Link Project
  • Gregorio del Pilar Impounding Project
  • Ilocos Norte Irrigation Project, Stage 2
  • Tumauini River Multipurpose Project
  • Pasacao – Balatan Tourism Coastal Highway
  • Camarines Sur Expressway Project (San Fernando-Pili Section)
  • Camarines – Catanduanes Friendship Bridge (Nationwide Island Provinces Link Bridges)
  • Panay-Guimaras-Negros (PGN) Island Bridge Project
  • Bohol – Leyte Link Bridge (included in the Nationwide Island Provinces Link Bridges)
  • Cebu – Negros Link Bridge (Nationwide Island Provinces Link Bridges)
  • Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project
  • Bohol Northeast Basin Multipurpose Project
  • Cebu – Bohol Link Bridge (Nationwide Island Link Bridges)
  • Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao
  • Mindanao Railway Project (Phase 3)
  • Mindanao Railway Project (Phase 2)
  • Rehabilitation / Improvement of the Zamboanga Fish Port Complex
  • Agus 6 Unit 4 Major Rehabilitation Project
  • Balo-i Plains Flood Control Project
  • Pulangi 4 Selective Dredging Phase 3
  • Rehabilitation and uprating of all Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Plant Units
  • Agus 3 Hydroelectric Plant
  • Asbang Small Reservoir Irrigation Project
  • Davao City Expressway Project
  • Ambal Simuay Sub-Basin of the Mindanao River Basin Flood Control and River Protection Project
  • Nationwide Fish Ports Project (Package III)
  • Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project (East Dalton Bypass Project)
  • Quezon-Bicol Expressway
  • Luzon – Samar Link Bridge (Nationwide Island Provinces Link Bridges)
  • Leyte – Surigao Link Bridge(Nationwide Island Link Bridges)

Although the President’s plans have yet to be actualized, the bold move by the national head has triggered a domino effect among the regional leaders, enticing movement as early as now and is reported to be already in their early construction stages, moving with great efficiency.

In Mindanao, numerous projects are already being started. The Panguil Bay Bridge project (#15, NEDA Board Approved Projects) is already in its earliest stages. The Korean consultants already conducted an ocular inspection on the project site last September 2017. Once completed, the 3.48-kilometer bridge will be able to shorten the travel distance and connect Tangub City (Misamis Occidental) to the Tubod Municipality (Lanao del Norte).

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Another project within the island is the construction of the new North Wing Building of the JR Borja General Hospital. The Cagayan de Oro City government has already begun construction after the groundbreaking last July 2017. The old building where the new wing will be built on has already been demolished.

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In neighboring Tagoloan, a rotunda is set to be built in Casinglot near the Mindanao International Container Port. This was the revised plan from the original plan of building a flyover in the area. This project was proven to be more cost-effective and more efficient in dealing with the traffic situation in the area.

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In Metro Cebu, major projects are on their way. One is the 2016-approved Cebu International Container Port, worth a whopping P 9.2 billion is expected to start within the third quarter of 2017 and is said to be completed in the second quarter of 2020. The site is at Barangay Tayud, Consolacion (Northern Cebu) and will be able to help ease the congestion and rate of usage of the present Cebu International Port (CIP) which is already at 97%. Another one is the second subway project that will divert traffic underground from F. Lamas and N. Bacalso. The 700-meter subway will hopefully ease the traffic situation and help commuters avoid entanglement in Pardo area. Also set in motion is the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project, envisioning a 23-kilometer long corridor that gives way to the bus transit from Bulacao to Ayala, then to Talamban area, as well as the South Road Properties.

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In Luzon, the construction of Cavite-Laguna Expressway is already on its way. This was the reply the government had when the congestion of motorists is becoming a major problem in the area due to Cavite and Laguna’s thrive as commercial and industrial sectors. This roadwork is supposed to help increase the socio-economic and trade activities around them.

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Though some of the projects are yet to be started and others not finished by the time Duterte steps down from office, it is a breath of fresh air seeing many construction movements happening simultaneously within the archipelago without the thrill of any upcoming elections. With such momentum, and if all goes well, the Philippines will be able to hoist itself to become the wonder that it was intended to be.