‘Build, Build, Build’ not a failure - Public Works chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 4)— The administration’s flagship infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build” is “definitely not a failure" based on data, a Cabinet official said Wednesday.

“Let's go by the numbers. There's no metric that you can give me that would lead you to the conclusion that it was a failure,” Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

“I think the statistics would point it, the highest and most efficient disbursement rate, the most number of projects, the highest number of big-ticket projects,” he added.

Among the administration’s infrastructure accomplishments, said Villar, are the construction of 9,000 kilometers of roads, more than 2,000 bridges, and more than 70,000 classrooms around the country.

Villar also listed key projects that have already been delivered, including the Laguna Lake Highway and the North Luzon Expressway Harbor Link.

Villar’s remarks came in response to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon's privilege speech that described the execution of the infrastructure program as “simply dismal.”

Drilon had cited data from the National Economic and Development Authority which shows that only nine out of 75, or two percent of the projects commenced three years into the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.

While Duterte previously slammed Drilon’s comment on the infrastructure program, the chief executive himself expressed frustration over its slow progress.

READ: Duterte mocks 'Build, Build, Build': I want 'Use, Use, Use'

The government’s revised Build, Build, Build program recently went through a major overhaul, with some several big-ticket infrastructure projects getting dropped from the original list.

Villar said authorities had to be “efficient” and prioritize those which are economically feasible.

“If it comes out in the pre-feasibility studies, some of these projects are not economically viable, we have to prioritize those that are economically viable,” he said.