Build Better More: Priorities of the Marcos infrastructure program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 22) — The Department of Public Works and Highways has bared some of the priorities of the Marcos administration towards achieving its “Build Better More” target for the infrastructure sector.

In his first State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said his government will not only keep the momentum, but also expand the previous administration’s Build, Build, Build program. 

DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan told CNN Philippines that the chief executive has instructed them to “look at all the priority projects that could immediately contribute to economic development, particularly in the agricultural sector, tourism, and interlinkages with other transportation modes.”

To start off, the DPWH wants to address traffic congestion issues, specifically in inter-regional connections, by limiting travel delays from one region to another, thereby reducing the cost of goods and services.

The Public Works chief said they are also looking into building interconnecting roads for some islands of the country, like Iloilo to Guimaras to Negros, to boost economic development in Visayas, especially in terms of tourism.

“We have to link the roads. As far as the department is concerned, we are more concerned about the road sector and we have to link [this] up with the other modes of transport like linking them to the airports, to the seaports, and to the railroads, so that we have a coordinated and efficient transport system in the country,” Bonoan explained.

DPWH is also committing to work with agencies, like the Department of Agriculture, to ensure better accessibility of farmers and fisherfolk and reduce transaction costs, which in turn will reflect on prices of goods.

Meanwhile, Bonoan said they have programs to address traffic and flooding problems in Metro Manila.

“What we are trying to do is to encourage the development of more highways or expressways going in and out of (Metro) Manila… to disperse the economic development outside of Metro Manila,” he said, referring to the capital region's traffic woes.

On flood concerns, Bonoan said the main issue is the region’s old drainage system developed some 50 years ago. The DPWH has an ongoing program to upgrade Metro Manila’s pumping stations so as to adjust and increase their capacities, he added.