To the 6.5 Million Build, Build, Build Team
Build, Build, Build has been the target of fake news, trolls, and critics. They have tried to redefine it far from its scope — and in their “proud, most credible voice” — report it as truth. Are they confused or just simply cunning? During the upcoming elections, many will try to discredit the accomplishments of 6.5 million construction workers. They will say that what we have completed is not enough, that there could have been many things that we could have done still, or that we never really worked at all.
Allow me to say — if you are reading this, and you’re part of the Build, Build, Build team - without you, we wouldn’t have been able to build 29,264 kilometers of roads, 5,950 bridges, 11,340 flood control projects, 222 evacuation centers, 150,149 classrooms, 214 airport projects, and 451 seaport projects.
The Philippines is in a much better place because of your skill, work, and sacrifices. If it weren’t for your help in building Pigalo Bridge, farmers in Isabela, who wanted to take their agricultural products to Manila or Tuguegarao, would still have to take the 76-kilometer detour via the Alicia-Angadanan-San Guillermo-Naguilian Road. Now, farmers are able to reach the same market within a ten-minute time frame.
If it weren’t for your sacrifices in constructing the Central Luzon Link Freeway, travel time from Nueva Ecija and Tarlac would still be 70 minutes. Now, the two provinces are connected within 20 minutes. If it weren’t for your courage to complete the Marawi Transcentral Road, residents of war-torn Marawi would still have
difficulty accessing basic services and goods. You have paved the way for peace.If it weren’t for your skill, it would have been impossible to build the Cebu Cordova Link Bridge, the Philippines’ longest bridgeway. You have shown Filipinos nationwide that the dream of connecting Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao via land travel is within our reach with the right vision and action plan.
If it weren’t for your hard work, we would not have finished the construction of the Skyway Stage 3, the NLEX Harbor Link, the C5 Southlink, the Kalayaan Bridge, and the Radial Road 10, among others. You are the reason why we are closer to achieving the EDSA Decongestion Program — a masterplan aimed at decongesting a 90-year-old circumferential highway.
You are the reason why Filipinos spend less time on the road, and more time with their families. Let the last five years be remembered as a collective movement of the Filipino people who wanted change and acted on it. We may have set our sights too high, but our country and the men who stood behind it deserve nothing less.
Filipinos have built many cities, expressways, subways, railways, and airports elsewhere in the world as OFWs. The pandemic gave us the best talent pool one could ever ask for. Build, Build, Build gave OFWs an opportunity to serve their country if they wanted to. Although we couldn’t match the salaries they received abroad, many stayed to ensure that Filipinos would get to use infrastructure that they only saw in photos before. We are on the right track. The Philippines can be a trillion-dollar economy. President Rodrigo Duterte already laid the grounds to make this possible. It will be up to us to make it happen.
Right man on the job
About five years ago, on our first day of office — Build, Build, Build Czar Mark Villar and I were talking — “What can we do to make the Philippines a better place?”His answer was simple —roads to the most rural areas so that children can go to school without risking their lives, bridges to connect farmers and fishermen to their markets and infrastructure that would open up opportunities in the countryside and allow Filipinos to dream and aspire for a better future. What is Build, Build, Build? It is a revolution of Filipinos who want the next generation to see a better Philippines.