MANILA - The government appealed for more patience from the public as it embarks on a massive infrastructure overhaul that will require "passion before resurrection," one of President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers said Thursday.
Duterte plans to raise infrastructure spending to up to 7 percent of gross domestic product to build more roads, bridges and transport terminals and solve crippling traffic jams that result in daily economic losses of up to P2.4 billion.
"Ang change na mangyayari muna is some inconvenience, some passion but then it’s usually passion before resurrection," Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters.
(Some inconvenience will come before change. Some passion, but it's usually passion before resurrection.)
"Before the country can really rise up and be a world class country and city, there will be some inconvenience when there’s construction going on, road widening," he said.
Pernia appealed to the Senate to pass "emergency powers" for Duterte to fast-track solutions to the traffic problem, adding the legislature should not be "taking its sweet time."
"We all want progress, and you know some bodies of the government or the country are not cooperating so that's a problem," he said.
The NEDA is scheduled to present seven more infrastructure projects for Duterte's approval during a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Pernia said. The President earlier approved 10 projects.
Some of the projects pending approval are: an agricultural project in Cordillera; two agricultural projects in Mindanao; a P200-billion railway that will connect Manila to Sorsogon; a 9-km road widening project from Tutuban to Valenzuela; and a roadway connecting Valenzuela City to Quezon City.
Construction on the $1-billion Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros-Cebu link bridge, the "most ambitious" of its kind, will begin next year, said Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.
The bridge, which can reach up to 10 kilometers in length, will replace the San Juanico bridge that connects Samar and Leyte islands as the country's longest, he said.
Other projects of the DPWH which will begin construction next year are: the Santa Monica-Lawton-BGC link bridge, the UP-Miriam-Ateneo viaduct, the Davao City bypass construction project which will connect Digos, Davao del Sur to Panabo, Davao del Norte, and the NLEX-SLEX connector road.