MANILA - The administration has completed infrastructure projects that helped eliminate the "misery" of public commuting in the country's congested capital, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday during his 6th and last State of the Nation Address.
For Duterte, one of his administration's noteworthy achievements was to eliminate "the horror" of MRT-3 breakdowns.
"MRT-3 with its record breakdowns and unloading passengers mid-rail was a horror for the daily commuters to endure in the past," Duterte said.
"Now MRT-3 no longer unloads passengers but to their destinations... We have taken away the misery of public commuting," he added.
By bringing back maintenance partner Sumitomo, the MRT now has 23 trains running at 60 km per hour, up from just 10 trains with just 30 km speed.
Two more stations were also added to the LRT-2 line under the LRT-2 East Extension project.
This helped reduced travel between Manila and Antipolo to 40 minutes from 2 to 3 hours, he said.
The project broke ground in June 2015, during the term of the late President Benigno Aquino III.
Through a partnership with San Miguel Corp, the Skyway Stage 3 Project was also opened to the public in January this year.
The elevated highway, which links the North Luzon Express Way and the South Luzon Expressway, has "decongested" EDSA and other Metro Manila roads, Duterte said.
Like the LRT-2, this infrastructure project broke ground during Aquino's term in January 2014 through a public-private partnership (PPP).
In his speech, the President enumerated other infrastructure projects such as the inauguration of the Kalayaan Bridge which reduced the travel time between Ortigas and BGC in Taguig to 12 minutes from 1 hour.
Duterte also highlighted the new passenger Terminal at the Clark International Airport, which at an 8-million passenger capacity, is seen to "alleviate" the congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Other projects completed outside the capital were the Poro point Free Port Zone in La Union, the Lanao-Pagadian-Zambaoga City junction road, and other projects in Sorsogon and Davao City.
Some of the projects were part of the administration's ambitious P9.2 trillion Build, Build, Build program, which was among the highlights in the president's previous State of the Nation Addresses.
The ambitious infrastructure program was deemed a failure by Senator Franklin Drilon in 2019, after noting that only 9 out of 75 BBB flagship projects have started construction.
From an initial 75 flagship projects, Build Build Build was revised "to make it more achievable."
Other flagship projects identified in 2017 meanwhile have yet to move along.
Despite the revisions on the flagship BBB project, Duterte said he has brought infrastructure spending to an average of 5 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) which he said is "definitely higher compared to infrastructure spending of each and past 4 administrations."
Economists have said public spending will be a key factor in the country's economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippines has seen its worse economic contraction at 9.6 percent in 2020, its worst since the end of World War 2.
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