Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) — Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Friday addressed criticism that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration overpromised but underdelivered in its flagship infrastructure program.
“While we overpromised as people claim, we have performed substantially,” the transportation chief told CNN Philippines. “There is nothing wrong in making overpromises as you have stated, provided there is completion and accomplishment as done.”
Duterte vowed a “Golden Age of Infastructure” for the country during his second State of the Nation Address in 2017, hoping this will further pump-prime national economic development. Thus came “Build, Build, Build,” the administration’s flagship infrastructure program.
READ: SONA 2021: Are we now in the Golden Age of Infrastructure?
The Cabinet official said 214 airport projects have been completed so far, such as the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Bohol-Panglao International Airport, and the Clark International Airport’s new passenger terminal which was just inspected recently.
Meanwhile, 451 seaport projects have been finished, including the Port of Cagayan de Oro said to be the country’s “largest” port passenger terminal building.
Tugade also touted the completion of almost 500 kilometers of bike lane networks in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao along with the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange and the establishment of the EDSA Busway.
“Hindi po pahuhuli ‘yung railway sector (The railway sector won’t be caught last). We have completed the LRT-2 East Extension while working on the LRT-1 Cavite Extension, Common Extension, Metro Manila Subway, MRT-7, and the massive rehabilitation of MRT-3, North-South Commuter Railways, and the Mindanao Railways,” he explained.
The government has numerous projects up for completion and inauguration this year, added Tugade.
He also refuted claims the country’s debts with China for infrastructure projects had ballooned.
“Let us take for instance the matter of rails. Most of the projects are not with China. The projects with Japan and other countries in the world,” said Tugade. “To say that we are overly exposed and committed to China is a little bit erroneous and not based on facts.”
Earlier, think tank InfrawatchPH criticized the Duterte administration for overpromising but underdelivering on its infrastructure goals, along with its preference for Beijing for certain projects.