THE government’s aggressive infrastructure program will still meet its target completions for the year despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic temporarily stopping the projects.

Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark A. Villar said in a Friday briefing that while work on the building projects under the administration’s flagship program “Build, Build, Build” might have stopped at the moment, he still sees that they will be able to meet their 2020 target of completion.

Sa tingin ko naman kaya namin habulin ang target implementation namin (I think we can catch up with our target implementations),” he said.

Ngayon siguro magkakaroon ng konting delays pero pipilitin natin yung mga targetted disbursements at accomplishment ng department (Right now maybe there will be slight delays but we will force the department’s target disbursements and accomplishmentst).”

Last December, the DPWH Secretary said 2020 would be the “banner year” of the government’s massive infrastructure program.

Mr. Villar said that they were able to begin new projects and continue ongoing ones under the program for this year. He added that the situation last year was much worse yet they were able to reach their goal in terms of completion of stages in many of their projects.

“Last year, nagsimula kami ng second half of the year dahil sa mga delays sa late release ng budget at dahil sa eleksyon, late kami nakipagsimula. At least this year nakapagsimula na kami (Last year we started in the second half of the year because of delays caused by the late release of the budget and because of the elections, we started late. At least this year we were able to start (our projects),” he said.

The “Build, Build, Build” program is worth over P2 trillion and is composed of thousands of infrastructure development projects scheduled throughout the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who made it his goal to make his administration the “golden age for infrastructure.”

The 2020 budget for the program is under the appropriations of the DPWH and the Department of Transportation (DoTr), worth P581.7 billion and P100.6 billion respectively. This year”s national spending plan is at a record P4.1 trillion.

Some major flagship projects seen to finish this year are some road projects under its EDSA decongestion program which is aimed at decreasing traffic along the road by 20% to 30% this year. Other flagship programs expected to start this year are the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the construction of the Bulacan Airport project. — Gillian M. Cortez