Opposition senatorial bets fear kickbacks: ‘Public should remain vigilant over implementation of Build, Build, Build program’ - The Daily Sentry

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Opposition senatorial bets fear kickbacks: ‘Public should remain vigilant over implementation of Build, Build, Build program’

Opposition senatorial candidates Florin Hilbay and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano / compiled photo from Google (ctto)

Manila, Philippines – Opposition Koalisyon (OK) senatorial candidates said the public should remain vigilant over the implementation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte administration’s “Build,Build,Build” program financed through Chinese loans.

The opposition’s senatorial bets cautioned the people as the P9-trillion infrastructure projects feared to result in billions of pesos worth of kickbacks.

Compared to NBN-ZTE controversy 

“Ang Build, Build, Build, baka maging bukol, bukol, bukol,” former solicitor general Florin Hilbay said, referring to the Filipino term that means lump.

Hilbay, a lawyer, expressed that infrastructure program could marred by anomalies such as kickback, commission, or padding similar to the $300-million as he compared it to NBN-ZTE controversy exposed during the term of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“This is an issue of transparency dahil ang ordinaryong mamamayan magbabayad nito,” Hilbay said

President Duterte’s administration vowed to embark on the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program which consists of 75 projects that totaled close to P9 million. The program aims to accelerate spending for infrastructure to generate jobs for the Filipinos and boost the economy.

“Imagine the scale and magnitude of this,” Hilbay said.

“Ang agam-agam ay pwedeng mangyari kung anuman ang nangyari noong GMA time, na malakas ang korapsyon, walang public bidding, bumabalik dito in a much larger scale,” he added.

Fear of corruption

Meanwhile, Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano said that to determine the extent of China’s involvement, these projects should be carefully examined.

“Sa construction kasi nandyan ang corruption, yan ang tokhangin natin,” Alejano said

Another member of the opposition, Samira Gutoc, of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said “respect, respect, respect” is a vital component of the government’s “Build, Build, Build.”*

Major projects to benefit Mindanao region

One of the biggest projects include a railway, worth at least P124.4 billion will be rolled out in Mindanao to bolster economic activity in the region, according to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.

Among the flagship projects for Mindanao cited by Dominguez in a statement sometime in February were P5.4-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase 2 in North Cotabato and Maguindanao, which is expected to be completed this year and service almost 10,000 hectares of land in 56 conflict-stricken areas; and the P98-billion Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network Project, which aims to improve some 2,500 kilometers of farm-to-market roads across Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccsksargen and Caraga regions.

There are also two more projects to complete the four big-ticket infrastructure projects of the administration: the P21-billion Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project, which seeks to build and improve a 276-km road network traversing Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay provinces; and the much-anticipated Mindanao Railway Project.

These infrastructures are very important public investments for Mindanao, which would help the region fast-track its development.

“For many years, the people of Mindanao complained of neglect by Imperial Manila…The many decades of neglect will end now. This island of great promise will be in the front and center of the massive infrastructure program being rolled out by the Duterte administration,” Dominguez said.

“So today is the time for Mindanao,” he added.