As part of his drive to accelerate physical development, economic growth and create new jobs for Filipinos, President Rodrigo Duterte launched the nationwide ‘Build, Build, Build’ initiative focused on new mega-projects, roadworks, ports and other major infrastructural development. A recent report from the Philippine Department of Budget and Managmenet found that in the first half of 2018, the projects associated with the initiative are being completed ahead of initial targets while spending on large scale development programs continues to increase when compared with investment from previous administration.
According to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno,
“With the better-than-programmed figures on revenues, spending, and the fiscal deficit, we will continue to spend wisely and promptly to service the huge needs of our people, especially in public infrastructure and social services”.
For decades, The Philippines has been left behind in respect of the ‘Asian tiger’ phenomenon which has seen cities and entire countries expand their infrastructure to become leading centres of world commerce, in which living standards for locals consistently improve. A combination of political corruption, a lack of original long term thinking and the corporate corruption of local oligarchs, had conspired to retard the potential of the Philippine economy.
Today however, this has changed and it is thanks to one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s flagship initiatives called ‘Build, Build, Build’. The initiative which covers all parts of The Philippines will see the building of mega-projects throughout the country which will include new highways and roads, airports, shipping ports, energy facilities, mass transit heavy and light rail, new buildings and spaces, as well as projects to improve micro-environments throughout the country.
The project is set to turn The Philippines into the fastest growing economy in ASEAN after years of neglect. The projects will be financed through a combination of public and private funds, with local oligarchs being bypassed for clean investment from countries like China and Japan. India has further expressed an interest in new ventures in the Philippine economy.
Much of the foreign investment has been made possible due to President Duterte’s outreach to new foreign partners. Duterte’s agreement to work jointly with China over previously disputed areas in the South China Sea has clearly played an important role in building trust with Beijing and turning a country that had historically poor relations with modern Philippines into a valued investment partner. As China is now the leading investment partner for countries throughout the world, Duterte’s Sinophobic opponents have been exposed for their myopic economic stupidity that would see The Philippines lose out on opportunities that countries in every other continent are using to their advantage.
Far from hiding the proposals and details of nearly 100 new projects, Duterte’s administration has set up an easy to use website for Build, Build, Build that gives in-depth information about every individual project while allowing the public to rate their level of approval regarding each project.The projects will help create jobs in both the short and long term, while helping to expand the country’s GDP all the while preparing The Philippines to enter the exciting world of One Belt–One Road style joint ventures with other countries. Crucially, Duterte’s initiatives are helping The Philippines to take a leading role in Asia for the first time in modern history.
Every great leader leaves behind a physical legacy to his or her people. From Alexander the Great whose monuments are dotted along the Mediterranean and Middle East, to the buildings of modern China which serve as monuments to a country that looks to take a globally leading role in the 21st century, infrastructure remains the most vital element of long term planning.
Long after the drug pushers and abusers are cleansed from the streets and long after local insurgents are brought to justice, Duterte’s lasting legacy to the country will be his ‘Build, Build, Build’, project. This project also helps one to understand Duterte’s desire for a federal republic, as unlike previous small-time investment initiatives, ‘Build, Build, Build’ is helping to develop neglected parts of the country, in addition to modernising already prosperous areas.
Where previous leaders cared only about themselves, Duterte’s projects are endeavours for the benefit of all Filipino people. Duterte has already changed the hearts and minds of millions, now he will change the very landscape of the country with important projects that will lift the country into a brighter tomorrow. At a time when the western powers are abandoning mega projects, Duterte is embracing the future as an Asian power that will build its way to prosperity.