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Panelo lauds Sec. Villar, hits back at Sen. Drilon

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Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo lauded Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar for completing the expansion of the newly opened Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEx).

Panelo in his daily online program, “Counterpoint”, said Sec. Villar told him that SFEx is now operational and around 10,000 motorists daily will benefit from the new road.

He added that the 8.2 kilometers SFex is now connected to the provinces of Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga and the rest of Central Luzon through the Subic-Tarlac Expressway.

“We should be really commending again Sec. Villar as this project will improve the mobility and accelerate the economic recovery and more importantly will support the logistics and supply chain which we really needed,” he said.

With this development, Panelo slammed Senator Franklin Drilon for his statement last year when he said that the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration is a ‘dismal failure.’

“Sec. Villar never stops sharing good developments [in “BBB”] but critics don’t want to acknowledge it, especially Frank Drilon. What does he always say? BBB is a failure and dismal. I think you’re just describing your performance in the senate, dismal,” he said.

November last year when Drilon expressed dismay over the flagship infrastructure projects progress.

He said “Sad to say, the Build, Build, Build program of this administration is a dismal failure… We have only two and a half years left of this administration. I don’t think any substantial progress insofar as that program is concerned will be achieved. The execution is simply dismal.”

According to the National Economic and Development Authority data only nine out of 75, or two percent of the projects under the “BBB” have commenced three years into the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Build, Build, Build” as of July, only 21 projects worth P187. 6 billion out of the 75 flagship projects worth at least P2.4-trillion will be finished in 2022.

The economic recession brought about by Covid-19 pandemic is said to be one of the reasons for the setback of the BBB projects as the government realigned parts of the BBB budget to support the government’s response to the pandemic.

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