Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vivencio “Vince” Dizon has called for continuity of the Duterte administration’s “Build Build Build” program.

At the press conference for the “Build Build Build” Progress Update, Dizon said some of the flagship projects have been set aside for now because of the huge resources needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Vivencio Dizon (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

But, he said that the projects that had been removed from the priority list are still important infrastructure for the future.

“And we hope, and we pray to God, the next administrations will consider pursuing these projects because they are very very important,” said Dizon.

He further noted that all of the projects that have been completed and started have eased a little bit the life of Filipinos.

“Ngayon tapos na ba tayo sa Duterte administration? Di pa, madame pa nating gawin. So, kailangan natin tuloy tuloy. (Now, are we done already with the Duterte administration? Not yet, there is still a lot that we need to accomplish. We need to persevere.),” emphasized Dizon, who is facing a complaint for graft and malversation over the P11 billion New Clark sports facilities. The case was filed by anti-corruption watchdog Citizens Crime Watch before the Office of the Ombudsman in October last year.

“There is no one administration that can complete all these projects,” he said citing the complexity and difficulty of infrastructure projects, especially, airports, seaports, bridges, especially inter-island bridges.

“So, our message to the public is this was started by President Duterte, by Secretary Mark Villar, Secretary Art Tugade, it is important that these projects will be pursued, no stopping,” Dizon said in a mix of Tagalog and English.

In addition, the BCDA Chief has defended the Duterte government’s preference for official development assistance (ODA) funds over the private sector fund via the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode of financing for the multi-billion peso Infrastructure projects.

“I think the reason for prioritizing ODA over PPP in the beginning was because of 2 things,” he volunteered.

First, he said, the ODA fund was cheaper because of the country’s very high credit ratings. He said that has been a very good decision because it allowed the government to build its reserves, which in turn was very beneficial when the COVID pandemic hit last year. Second, he said, the ODA financing has proven to be quite fast.

He cited some of these projects as the Manila to Clark railway, which is purely ODA-funded with JICA of Japan and Asian Development Bank. He said the railway project has already started from Malolos to Tutuban and work from the Clark side has also commenced.

Another ODA-funded project is the Metro Manila Subway, which he said has already started despite the pessimism by everybody that it will not happen.

“In fairness, there are several PPP projects that have been done,” he said. One is the completed Clark International Airport and the Skyway Stage 3.

“We need to balance and the principle of the Duterte government was not more ODA, more PPP, but to balance the projects so that government is protected in the medium and long term and projects get implemented quickly which i think we’ve struck that balance,” he concluded.

He said there are many projects under the China ODA funds, Japan and South Korea and other countries who have “really, really stepped up and helped us out in the Build, Build, Build program.”

“And I think this is a testament to our president’s very solid foreign policy, which is friends to all enemies to none,” he added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (