MANILA, (Mabuhay) — The government remains committed to implement its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program to revive the country’s economy that entered recession due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Malacañang said on Thursday.
“Kabahagi pa rin po at importante pa rin ang papel ng ‘Build, Build, Build’ para sa ating recovery mula dito sa Covid-19 (The role of ‘Build, Build, Build’ in our recovery remains important for our recovery from Covid-19),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.
This, after President Rodrigo Duterte admitted on Tuesday that the Philippines cannot afford to totally reopen the Philippine economy amid the Covid-19 crisis due to possible spike of cases in the country.
As of Thursday, the Philippines has reported 51,375 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 12,813 recoveries and 1,314 deaths.
During the pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) forum on Wednesday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the resumption of infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program is the “best way” to reboot the country’s economy.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, on behalf of the Cabinet’s infrastructure cluster, also reported on the progress of the current infrastructure projects.
In his report during the forum, Villar said the “Build, Build, Build” program can help jumpstart the recovery of the country’s economy.
He added that the infrastructure program would help Filipinos remain employed or find opportunities for employment.
Despite the pandemic, the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link, the NLEX-SLEX Connector, the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, the R-1 Bridge Project, the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway Project, and the Subic Freeport Expressway Project have resumed construction.
Roque reiterated that the resumption of all infrastructure projects will push through but will be subject to “reprioritization”.
He also echoed Duterte’s latest stance that the government has to be “very circumspect” in reopening the economy.
Roque, nevertheless, ensured that the total reopening of the economy would happen in the event that the government is able to bring down the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
“Kapag napababa na natin ‘yung banta ng sakit, unti-unti na nating bubuksan ang ekonomiya (Once we are able to lower the threat of this disease, we will gradually reopen the economy),” he said. (MNS)