Duterte looks back at ‘Build, Build, Build’ program in book launch

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 15) — Former President Rodrigo Duterte recounts his administration’s push for infrastructure development through the “Build, Build, Build” program in his recent public engagement.

Duterte graced the book launch of the second edition and Filipino version of “Night Owl: A Nationbuilder’s Manual” on Tuesday. The book, written by then Build, Build, Build Committee Chair Anna Mae Lamentillo, discusses in detail the Duterte administration’s major infrastructure project.

“It records the accomplishments of the ‘Build, Build, Build’ mantra during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. We were able to create 29,000 kilometers of roads, 5,950 bridges. At least before we resigned from our respective positions, we wanted to make sure that the narrative is there and backed by statistics and we give credit to the 6.5 million Filipinos who actually worked to accomplish this project,” Lamentillo told reporters.

Duterte was accompanied by his common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña and Senator Bong Go. He was welcomed by Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Chair and former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, former Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Senator Francis Tolentino.

During his speech, the former President shared his reminders to his Cabinet when they were planning the infrastructure program.

“Sabi ko basta hatiin ninyo lahat, makatikim ang lahat ng regions, the whole country will benefit from the infrastructure funds. Sabi ko ‘yung big-ticket to be pursued by itong Transportation department pati ‘yung sa highways,” he said.

[Translation: I told them that all regions, the whole country must benefit from infrastructure funds. The big-ticket projects will be pursued by the Transportation department, including highways.]

Duterte thanked Tugade and former Public Works Secretary and now Senator Mark Villar for bringing to life the program, which he said is the mark his administration left on the country.

“I never really bothered to ask for a month-to-month report. But nakikita ko, as I was going around the country as then president to look after the welfare. At nakikita ko na iyong progress nila and I knew that in my heart, pati dito sa Manila nakikita ko, that somehow I will go out of the presidency with a little pride na may ginawa ako para sa bayan,” he said.

[Translation: I never really bothered to ask for a month-to-month report. But I saw their progress, and I knew in my heart, even here in Manila, that somehow I will go out of the presidency with a little pride that I’ve done something for the country.]

The former Public Works Secretary also attended the event with his mother, Senator Cynthia Villar.

“It's been the honor of my life to serve in your administration and thank you Sir, for believing in a young 38-year-old appointee,” the younger Villar said to Duterte.

House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was also at the launch, thanked the Duterte administration as one of its projects was the Clark International Airport.

“I'm happy to say that I was also a part of the Duterte Administration because I was Presidential Adviser for Clark Programs and Projects. So some of the infrastructure that we are now talking about were there in Clark, especially the international airport in Clark. So in behalf of the Filipino people, the Kampapangan people, thank you President Duterte for giving us a beautiful, maybe the most beautiful airport in the Philippines,” she said.

Lamentillo said the second edition includes a new chapter on the Marcos administration’s ‘Build Better More’ program, which pushes for improving digital infrastructure. She hopes the Filipino version to be released soon will reach more individuals.

“I think itong book launch natin [our book launch] will soon transition from ‘Build, Build, Build’, we’ll be pushing for ‘Build, Better, More.’ And we’ll start to feel the gains of the ‘Build, Better’ mantra of President Bongbong Marcos in the next few months,” she added.