DPWH says on track to meet 'Build, Build, Build' targets for 2020 despite lockdown

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 17 2020 01:24 PM

A man drives past a construction site in Paco, Manila amid the enhanced community quarantine on April 4, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Friday it could meet targets of the Duterte administration's 'Build, Build, Build' infrastructure program this year despite a stall in construction work due to the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and lockdowns in other areas.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar assured the public that infrastructure projects will resume once the lockdown in Luzon is lifted. The enhanced community quarantine is expected to be in effect until at least April 30.

Construction of big-ticket infrastructure projects has been suspended since more than a month ago as the government directed its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

"Tuloy-tuloy naman ang ating flagship projects at 'pag natapos na po itong quarantine, asahan na tuloy-tuloy na ang construction at makakahabol naman kami sa targets ng 2020," Villar said in a virtual press briefing.

(Our flagship projects will continue and once this quarantine ends, you can expect that construction will resume and we can meet our 2020 targets.)

Around P30 billion from the flagship infrastructure program was reallocated to critical areas to help the government in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, Villar said these funds remain untouched but are on standby should the government need it.

"Naka-ready naman kami, kung kinakailangan ng government na kumuha ng additional funds, naka-ready naman kami," he said.

(We are ready if the government needs additional funds.)

"Mag-identify lang kami ng mga projects na hindi naman pinaka-priority, pero sa ngayon po pinaghahandaan pa lang, hindi pa naman nababawasan," he said.

(We will identify projects that are not big priorities but for now we're just preparing. The funds are still there.)

Villar said the DPWH is currently focused on converting convention centers into massive quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients.

Government's major infrastructure program aims to build more bridges, roads, airports and transport systems, among others, to generate employment and spur economic growth.