Luck is said to come in threes and in the realm of infrastructure development, it seems the Duterte administration’s luck also comes in threes — a trio, that is.
In a rare instance, we got to sit down with the top honchos of the three key government bodies tasked to bring the government’s “Build, Build, Build” mantra to fruition.
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, Department of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) head Vince Dizon are brimming with news about the latest and the upcoming. They can talk your ears off about the new ports, the new “highways” and the new “city,” but one thing you will notice is their certainty that decongesting the metro is a problem that can be solved.
Perhaps it is this optimism that keeps them working together so seamlessly. They assure this writer that when it comes to working together, they leave egos behind and keep their focus on the outcome. They all want the same thing: to finish the job and finish it well.
Villar is optimistic that traffic will eventually ease. Among other highlights, the secretary names the planned Harbor Lane that will hopefully decongest the main roads of container trucks. The Laguna Lake Highway, he says, will be finished by the third quarter of 2018.
“We opened the first exit of the Skyway two weeks ago. Construction continues and rest assured that in the next two years, traffic will ease,” he said.
“Rest assured, this traffic is not forever,” he quipped, taking a cue from the popular millennial hashtag, “Walang forever (There is no such thing as forever).”
Meanwhile, Tugade highlighted the opening of new airports in the regions, announcing that the much-anticipated Panglao airport in Bohol will also be unveiled soon, weather permitting.
“In the seas, we will be opening the first barge terminal which will be operational in Taguig.
Container vans are the target of this barge terminal. This will help decongest the roads. In the past two years, we have finished 129 ports and ports projects. We are looking at spreading the transport hubs all over the country. In other words, they are not concentrated on one area, but throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. We also have a subway project coming up,” he announced.
For his part, Dizon is focused on developments in Central Luzon, specifically the New Clark City in Pampanga.
“The DoTr is the first-ever government agency that moved to Clark,” he lauded Tugade. It’s been over two decades, he explained, that government agencies have been urged to move out of Metro Manila and help decongest the cities by moving operations to Clark.
“Under the Duterte government, it is not lip service. We really act on it and the first to really make this move was Secretary Tugade,” he reiterated. Tugade had been able to do so after a year in office, he said and Villar will be moving the DPWH soon.
(To be continued)