'Good governance led to more infra projects'
MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III lauded in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson for cutting corruption in infrastructure projects.
In his SONA, Aquino said budget for infrastructure projects, which are essential for the country's economic growth, has doubled from P200.3 billion in 2011 to P404.3 billion in 2014.
"Hindi lang lumaki ang pondo; binawasan pa natin ang mga tagas sa sistema. Kaya natitiyak nating mas sulit ang bawat pisong ginagastos ng estado," he said.
He said since Singson took office, the DPWH chief has implemented reforms to end corruption in his agency.
"Sa pamumuno ni Secretary Babes Singson ng DPWH, bawal ang tongpats, bawal ang bukol. Tinapalan na ang mga butas sa lumang sistema at pinatag ang proseso sa ahensya," Aquino said.
Among Singson's reforms, he said, were the removal of the Letter of Intent in the bidding process as well as the reduction of the required documents from bidders from 20 to 5.
He said these have slashed opportunities for connivance among corrupt officials and employees.
"Mas mabilis ang proseso at mas konti ang pagkakataong manghingi ng pampadulas o suhol," he said.
Aquino said since he became President in 2010, the DPWH has already implemented national road projects with a total span of 12,184 kilometers.
"Katumbas ito ng apat na kalsadang nag-uugnay sa Laoag hanggang Zamboanga City," he said.
According to the President, government has approved seven public-private partnership (PPP) programs amounting to P62.6 billion from December 2011 to June 2014.
"Ang laki na po talaga ng pinagkaiba ng noon sa ngayon... Dati, hindi makaakit ang Pilipinas ng mga investor. Noon, gobyerno pa mismo ang nag-aalay ng kaliwa't-kanang insentibo tulad ng pagbibigay ng commercial development rights, subsidy at iba pang garantiya. Ngayon, baliktad na ang sitwasyon. Matindi ang kompetisyon ng mga nag-uunahang kompanya. Handa silang magbayad para makuha ang pribilehiyong itayo ang imprastrukturang kailangan natin," Aquino said.
He cited the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building, wherein government got a P14-billion premium payment, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Expressway Project Phase 2, wherein government received P11 billion.
The President also took note of some infrastructure projects which were conceptualized and started during the past administrations, but were only completed under his leadership: the Aluling Bridge, and the Ternate-Nasugbu Road.
He also mentioned the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, which he said was a project in the 1970s but was only started in June this year.
"Ang mga imprastrakturang matagal nang ipinako sa pangako, atin na pong isinasakongkreto... Ilan lang yan sa mga imprastrakturang wala tayong planong ipamana bilang problema," he said.
Aquino also boasted of the "biggest PPP project," the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike, which will help reduce flooding and ease traffic. The bidding for the project will start by the end of 2014, he said.
"Mababawasan ang pagbaha... Malilinis ang tubig sa Laguna Lake. At bawas ang trapiko," he said.
Aquino said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board has also approved the following projects: Laoag City Bypass Link Road Project, Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project, LRT Line 1 South Extension and Line 2 East Extension, and Busuanga Airport.
He also took note of the construction of phase one of the Clark Green City in Capas, Tarlac.
"Ang ambisyon natin sa Clark Green City ay maging di hamak itong mas malawak na Bonifacio Global City -- ang dating liblib maging hitik sa oportunidad."
"Sa mabuting pamamahala, nanunumbalik ang tiwala ng merkado ng mundo at ng taumbayan sa ating gobyerno," Aquino said.