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Empowering Filipinos through Build, Build, Build

The 124th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence carries the theme, “Pagsuong sa Hamon ng Panibagong Bukas (Rise Towards the Challenge of a New Beginning).”

What does our independence mean amid a challenging period of rebuilding after a devastating crisis?

As we hope that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is already over, we heave a sigh of relief. But the arduous journey towards recovery from the impacts of the global health crisis is just beginning. This is a time for nation building towards a stronger, more resilient nation. Just as our forefathers had to overcome a lot of hurdles when we gained independence 124 years ago, we too must prevail over the obstacles that impede our growth as a nation.

The government’s infrastructure program will be among the crucial pillars of our recovery efforts. It will be a great source of employment and livelihood opportunities. With more jobs, more people will have money that will help boost domestic consumption.

Between 2016-2020, “Build, Build, Build” generated 6.5 million jobs. Moreover, despite restrictions brought by the pandemic, infrastructure projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) provided more than 1.482 million jobs to Filipinos nationwide for the period of March 2020 to August 2021.

Under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, 31,977 kilometers of roads have been completed, as well as 6,333 bridges, 484 commercial, social, and tourism ports, and 233 airport projects, among others. These projects under the “Build, Build, Build” will help fuel economic recovery by improving connectivity and mobility, bringing down the costs of production, and encouraging countryside investments.

But probably one of the most important and lasting impacts of the “Build, Build, Build” on our nation is its role in uniting and empowering Filipinos.

The roads, bridges, airports, and seaports that have been built in the past six years connected communities and islands, paving the way not only for better opportunities but also stronger partnerships and closer communities.

These infrastructure projects, including school buildings and health care facilities, help empower Filipinos as they gain better access to basic needs and social services. The flood mitigation structures, evacuation centers, bike lanes provide a better sense of security to our communities. Opportunities for growth will continue to abound as economic activities will spread from urban centers toward the countryside.

The incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is committed to pursuing the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, as it will not only hasten the economy but will also produce jobs. Among the big ticket projects that it will continue is the32.47-kilometer Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge, which will connect all six provinces of Western Visayas by linking the Panay Island (where the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo are located), to Guimaras, and to Negros Occidental.

Amidst a challenging time, the “Build, Build, Build” has given us hope that the government can balance its priorities and provide the Filipino people the long-needed infrastructure programs it deserves — infrastructure projects that have not only brought renewed hope for inclusive growth, but have actually started improving the lives of Filipinos, especially those in the countryside, including those in far flung areas.

As we linked islands, towns, and communities through the “Build, Build, Build,” we realized that it was not our diverse culture that hinders full cooperation and unity, but rather the invisible walls created by the lack of physical infrastructure to connect Filipino communities. The “Build, Build, Build” has started to break down these walls. Sustaining these efforts will result in a more empowered citizenry ready to be part of nation building.

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