MANILA - The government's public works was looking to finish several priority projects this year such as the Skyway, Harbor Link and TPLEX extensions despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and subsequent lockdowns, an official said.
Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said construction in these projects have resumed after getting approval from the government body tasked to contain the spread of COVID-19.
He said that while the virus outbreak caused delays, the projects are still “on track.”
“We can still deliver them within the year,” Villar said in an interview with ANC.
Skyway Stage 3, which will connect the South and North Luzon expressways, was supposed to be finished in March this year, but a fire caused one of its unfinished segments to collapse last February.
The project, which is being constructed by San Miguel Corp’s infrastructure unit, is expected to significantly reduce traffic on EDSA.
A section of Harbor Link meanwhile was inaugurated by President Rodrigo Duterte last March. The tollway is expected to cut travel time from the Port of Manila to the North Luzon Expressway.
Villar said a “majority” of the priority projects under the Build Build Build program will also be finished this year, but officials are also discussing with economic managers if there is a need to re-prioritize some projects.
“At this point We are still in discusiions, because there’s a need also to pump prime the economy.”
Villar said that when construction fully resumes, the government will implement very strict health and safety measures with its projects. Each construction site will be a “COVID-free zone” where workers will be checked before being allowed to work, and where unnecessary movement in and out of the sites will be banned.