FACT CHECK News SONA 2017 Promise Tracker

SONA 2017 Promise Tracker: Infrastructure

President Rodrigo Duterte announced in his second State of the Nation Address a massive and ambitious ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program projected to cost up to P9 trillion.

“We will make the next few years the ‘Golden Age of Infrastructure’ in the Philippines to enhance our mobility and connectivity,” the chief executive said. “In other words, we are going to Build, Build and Build.”

Since then, 75 flagship projects from the 4,000-plus infrastructure projects listed in the National Economic Development Authority’s 2017-2022 Public Investment Program — “the rolling list of programs and projects to be implemented by the government” — have been “fast-tracked” for approval and implementation under the new program.

These projects range from “complex road networks, long-span bridges, flood control and urban water systems, to public transport, port, airport, and railway investments.”

According to Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) has “made possible” the multitrillion-peso program: TRAIN allots 70 percent of the incremental revenue from the law for infrastructure.

PROMISE: Increase infrastructure spending

“We are targeting to increase Government spending on infrastructure from 5 percent of GDP in 2017 to 7 percent of GDP by 2022, amounting to a total of 8 to 9 trillion pesos or 160 to 180 billion dollars in infrastructure projects.” (SONA 2017)

Infrastructure spending in the first quarter of the year increased 33.7 percent, or about P157.1 billion, compared to the same period last year.

This figure surpasses by 9 percent the P143.4 billion target infrastructure expenditure for the first quarter of the year. The government plans to spend about P1.1 trillion on infrastructure this year, which would account for 6.3 percent of the GDP.

PROMISE: Work toward ‘golden age’ of Philippine infrastructure

“We will make the next few years the ‘Golden Age of Infrastructure’ in the Philippines to enhance our mobility and connectivity.” (SONA 2017)

All 61 of the 75 big-ticket infrastructure projects under Duterte’s Build, Build, Build (BBB) program listed in its official website are in various stages of implementation. The projects include construction or upgrading of roads, bridges, railways, and airports.

PROMISE: Complete strategic road and bridge projects

“We shall complete strategic road and bridge projects and some of the road sections shall be widened and improved to address the worsening traffic.” (SONA 2017)

Of the 24 Build, Build, Build projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways listed in, only two have been finished and opened to the public: Phase II of the Plaridel Bypass Road project in April and the Laguna Lake Highway in March.

PROMISE: Pursue inter-island bridges

“We shall pursue inter-island linkage projects.” (SONA 2016)

Included in the NEDA-approved list of BBB infrastructure projects is the Panguil Bay Bridge project, which will connect Tangub City of Misamis Occidental with Tubod town in Lanao del Norte.

PROMISE: Create new airports

“Airports, we are building new airports. We might get some money also from China and will have new airports in the coming days.” (SONA 2017)

Two new airports are in the works. The Bohol (Panglao) Airport, which began in 2012, is being fast-tracked under Duterte’s BBB program. NEDA approved in April San Miguel Corp.’s proposal to build a $14 billion international airport in Bulacan.

PROMISE: Obtain Chinese funding for new airports

“Airports, we are building new airports. We might get some money also from China and will have new airports in the coming days.” (SONA 2017)

The proposal for a new Chinese-funded airport is under review. CLSA Ltd., offshore platform of Chinese investment bank CITIC Securities Co. Ltd., submitted a proposal to fund a new $10 billion airport in Manila, a CLSA official said in March.

PROMISE: Ease and speed up transactions with government agencies via a national portal

“The National Government Portal, which we launched recently, will allow faster and easier delivery of public services and reduce the number of visits of the public to agencies for government transactions.” (SONA 2017)

“All government agencies are instructed to enable their clients to submit applications for coordination to other agencies combined… through a national government portal.” (SONA 2016)

While the Department of Budget and Management said in June there are 102 e-Services offered by the National Government Portal, measurement of its success in making “faster and easier” public access to government transactions has yet to be reported.

As of posting, at least two e-services are down and being “re-developed.” They are Forms Builder, meant to make “hassle-free” the finding, filling out and sending of government forms online; and PhPay and ProgRESIBO, intended to make possible online the payment and receipt generation for government transactions.

PROMISE: Develop the National Broadband Plan

“I have also ordered the newly-created DICT, Information and Communication Technology, to develop a National Broadband Plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technologies to improve internet speed.” (SONA 2016)

The Department of Information and Communications Technology in June signed an agreement with the National Transmission Corp. and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines for use of their fiber-optic network; with Facebook in November 2017 to establish submarine cables connected to the internet hubs of the United States and Hong Kong — for “high-speed, low-cost” internet.

PROMISE: Expand coverage of free public wifi

“Wi-Fi access shall be provided at no charge in selected public places including plazas and parks, public libraries, schools, government hospitals, train stations, airports and seaports.” (SONA 2016)

From the 12,841 public places already covered by PipolKonek, or the Free Public Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project, since Duterte’s last SONA, the Department of Information and CommunicationsTechnology said in June it plans to add 8,000 more hotspots nationwide for the rest of 2018.

PROMISE: Intensify anti-’colorum’ campaign

“Our anti-colorum campaign and out-of-line apprehension including the removal of terminals will be intensified and, my God, it will be done. Immediately, immediately.” (SONA 2016)

Two months after Duterte’s last state of the nation address, the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) was re-launched to conduct operations against “illegal parking, colorum and out-of-line vehicles, and illegal terminals.” Last May 17, I-ACT apprehended a record-breaking 156 colorum vehicles in a day.

In March, the Department of Transportation also launched Task Force Kamao under orders from the president, intended to enforce the anti-colorum campaign on a nationwide scale.

I-ACT leads anti-colorum operations in Metro Manila while TF Kamao coordinates with local government units even outside the Metro.

PROMISE: Remove commuter terminals

“Our anti-colorum campaign and out-of-line apprehension including the removal of terminals will be intensified and, my God, it will be done. Immediately, immediately.” (SONA 2016)

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority shut down operations of 9 bus terminals along EDSA violating various policies almost a month after Duterte announced the intensified campaign to remove them.

In an effort to decongest Manila, the Department of Transportation in April signed an agreement with Iglesia ni Cristo and North Luzon Express Terminals Inc. to create instead a P5 billion integrated bus terminal at Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan.

PROMISE: Maximize use of existing roads

“To address lack of road infrastructure in Metro Manila, usage of existing roads will be maximized. Thus, there is a need to cooperate and coordinate with LGUs to map out secondary routes and to consult various stakeholders, including the public transport operators.” (SONA 2016)

But stalled in some areas.

The opening of “Kalayaan Lanes,” new alternative routes from EDSA in Quezon City, were signed into an agreement by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the QC local government last September. The agreement opens up 30 roads.

“Massive” road construction and repair works – many of which hit EDSA – however, is set to make Metro Manila traffic more congested than it already is. The MMDA has issued press releases telling road users to “expect heavy traffic” in the second half of the year.

PROMISE: Extend validity of driver’s license cards

“For the driver’s licenses, its (validity) will be extended from the current 3-year period to 5 years.” (SONA 2016)

On August 2, 2017, Duterte signed Republic Act 10930 extending the validity of driver’s licenses from three years to five.

License cards are also no longer made out of paper, which was a result of a Commission on Audit finding that the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) partnership with its then-card supplier Amalgamated Motors Philippines Inc. lacked a proper contract. LTO entered into a new contract with the joint venture Dermalog, Nextix and CFP in April 2017, and has been issuing plastic cards since August 29 last year.


Department of Budget and Management, Philippine economy grows by 6.8% in Q1 supported by strong government spending, May 10, 2018.

Department of Budget and Management, 2018 NATIONAL BUDGET A budget that reforms and transforms, Dec. 20, 2017., Projects, n.d.

Department of Finance Facebook page, Ready, Set, BUILD!, June 4, 2018.

Department of Public Works and Highways, 24-km new Bulacan arterial road opens, widening works underway, May 3, 2018.

Department of Public Works and Highways, 6-km Laguna Lake Highway now open, March 12, 2018., Panguil Bay Bridge, n.d., New Bohol (Panglao) Airport Development, Operations and Maintenance Project, n.d.

National Economic Development Authority, NEDA board approves Subic-Clark Railway, Bulacan International Airport, April 26, 2018.

Reuters, CLSA eyes Southeast Asia push with $10 billion Manila airport project, March 8, 2018., China loans for PH firmed up, March 9, 2018.

Philippine News Agency, PDBM pushes Budget Reform bill, July 11, 2018., Forms Builder, n.d., PhPay, n.d.

Philippine Information Agency, Gov’t to tap NGCP for high-speed low-cost internet, June 26, 2018.

Philippine Information Agency, DICT eyes more free-wifi hotspots for 2018, June 26, 2018.

Department of Transportation, Gov’t relaunches I-ACT, calls for active stakeholders’ participation to solve traffic, Sept. 6, 2017.

Philippine News Agency, I-ACT scores highest one-day apprehension of 156 colorum vehicles, May 17, 2018.

Philippine News Agency, DOTr launches TF Kamao vs. ‘colorum’ PUVs, March 28, 2018.

Philippine News Agency, MMDA closes 9 bus terminals in QC, Aug. 17, 2017.

GMA News Online, North Luzon Terminals to build P5-B bus terminal in Bulacan, April 17, 2018.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, MMDA and Quezon City Government sign MOA for Kalayaan Lanes, Sept. 19, 2017.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Brace for Heavier Traffic in the Metro Due to Massive Road Construction and Repair Works, June 29, 2018.

Republic Act 10930, LTO rolls out plastic driver’s license with 5-yr validity, Aug. 29, 2017.

Department of Finance, TRAIN putting more money into the hands of consumers to make up for the slight increase in prices–DOF, July 12, 2018.

National Economic Development Authority, Public Investment Program 2017-2022, n.d.

National Economic Development Authority, Socio Economic Report Chapter 19: Accelerating Infrastructure Development, March 28, 2018.

Presidential Communications Operations Office, State of the Nation Address of Rodrigo Roa Duterte President of the Philippines, July 23, 2017.

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