Marcos follows Rody’s drumbeat

If the project is good, why not continue it? This is not the thinking that will bring us to the new Philippines

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has assured that several projects started or pushed into the pipeline by the previous Duterte administration would be completed by his government.

Continuing his efforts to reach Filipinos via social media, the President in his weekend vlog said that the government recently approved 194 high-impact infrastructure projects with a total budget of P9 trillion.

Out of the 194 projects on the list of the National Economic and Development Authority, or NEDA, 123 were initiated by the current administration, while the others were started during Duterte’s term.

The projects focus on power and energy, digital connectivity, flood management, and transportation infrastructure, among others.

“These projects are part of our Build, Better, More program that aims to improve living conditions of the different sectors in our country through modernization and by improving the quality of our public infrastructure,” Mr. Marcos said.

He stressed that it is not right to think that past administrations had done nothing good for the present dispensation to build on.

“We have a habit here in the Philippines, and in other countries as well, that when the administration changes, everything done by the previous administration is stopped because it is believed that nothing good came out of it,” the President said.

“That’s not right. If the project is good, why not continue it? This is not the thinking that will bring us to the new Philippines. If the project has been carefully studied and it is really beneficial, it should be continued,” he pointed out.

Criminality rising?

The President, however, did not touch upon impressions that criminality and the trade of illegal drugs have been making a strong comeback under his administration, with seemingly unabated killings of high-profile individuals, including Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

While the Philippine National Police has been citing plummeting crime figures, Duterte himself, in an interview in Davao City in February, commented that stronger leadership must be shown against crime.

Duterte’s first chief of police, Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, had chided the present PNP leadership for allegedly lacking the characteristics that could sow fear in criminals.

The PNP and PDEA are trying to crack down on some of their officials and personnel said to be involved in coddling drug syndicates or in recycling confiscated drugs.

Enticing investors

PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin even had to ask his generals and colonels to submit courtesy resignations so they can be vetted for possible involvement in the drug trade.

In his YouTube post, Marcos pushed public infrastructure projects that will ease traffic congestion in cities and boost connectivity in the provinces.

He also cited alleviating the country’s food security challenges and reducing the impacts of climate change as priorities of his government.

Modern and durable infrastructure will encourage more investors to come to the Philippines thereby creating jobs and generating revenues for the country, Marcos said.

To make the Philippines “more appealing” to investors, Marcos explained NEDA has also “changed the guidelines” for joint venture programs.

“Infrastructure means progress. It carries benefits that will not only improve the economy but also the quality of life of every Filipino,” the President pointed out.

At least 45 of the administration’s major infrastructure projects will receive funding from the private sector, the NEDA announced earlier this month, following the past administrations’ lead.

The government has given the green light to eight projects, out of the 95 that have previously been approved for implementation. In the meantime, 44 are engaged in “pre-project preparations” and 47 are undergoing feasibility studies.

Marcos stated that he hoped the new initiatives would increase employment in the country. “These infrastructure projects will bring more jobs to our workers, our laborers, and our skilled workers,” he pointed out.

He said infrastructure projects provided over 1.4 million jobs for Filipinos during the pandemic.

However, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported 2.37 million unemployed Filipinos in January 2023, up from the 2.22 million documented jobless Pinoys in December 2022 as holiday jobs dried up.

“That is why the approval of these 194 projects in various parts of the country also carries millions of jobs for our fellow citizens,” the President intoned.

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