MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's supposed legacy of 'Build, build, build" could be sustained but needed vast improvement, most of presidential hopefuls said on Saturday.
Asked to rate Duterte's infrastructure program, presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said the scheme could be "better and bolder," as he lamented that out of 118 projects, only 12 were completed.
Ernesta Abella said he would consider it a success but would "push it beyond building structures."
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno lauded the Build, Build, Build, but said he would revise it to include "more housing, more schools, more hospitals, more post-harvest facility, more source of energy."
Norberto Gonzales said he needed to thoroughly examine the program before deciding if it was successful.
Vice President Leni Robredo said while she would continue the initiative, she would not resort to more loans to complete the projects. To this end, she said she would put emphasis on Public-Private Partnership instead of Official Development Assistance.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao meanwhile boasted of his personal efforts to provide housing for many Filipinos, and said Build Build Build could be better if it benefitted Mindanao.
Jose Montemayor said the program is bound to be continued because of existing contracts but the government must ensure there is no corruption.
Faisal Mangondato said Build, Build, Build must benefit only its rightful recipients.
Labor leader Leody de Guzman lamented that funds for the infrastructure push could have been used to solve other pressing issues like hunger and poverty, especially during the pandemic.
"Na-resolve sana ang unemployment at kahirapan. Madami nga tayong expressway at tulay, pero madaming gutom na mamamayan. Walang kwentang gobyerno. Yung basic na pangangailangan ng mamamayan ay hindi natugunan. Ang pagtingin ko sa Build, Build, Build, binaon tayo sa utang," said de Guzman.
(Unemployment and poverty could have been resolved. We might have expressways and bridges, but many citizens go hungry. Useless government, the basic needs of the people were not even addressed. My view of Build, Build, Build is it buried us in debt.)
Duterte's “Build, Build, Build” program sought to bring the Philippines to its “golden age of infrastructure" by building road networks and modernizing the country’s main gateways.
It also hoped to spur economic growth in the country by providing jobs and boosting spending, especially in the construction sector.
A tenth candidate, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., skipped the first round of Comelec's Pilipinas debate at the Sofitel Hotel Manila.