PGMA builds more roads, bridges than 3 previous presidents

January 7, 2010 11:02 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 7 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has built more roads and bridges in her nine-year tenure than her all three predecessors did in their 14 years in office.

From 2001 up to the present, 47,773 kilometers of roads and 289,955 meters of bridges, costing P226 billion, has been built by the current administration compared to the 34,327 kilometers of roads and 274,742 kilometers of bridges constructed under three previous presidents, Corazon C. Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos, and Joseph E. Estrada, who served from 1986 to 2001.

Secretary Victor Domingo of the Secretary of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) made the revelation in reaction to suggestions that the President has lavished projects on Pampanga, her home province, to the detriment of other areas of the country.

According to Domingo, Pampanga could be developed as a government center and as a viable alternative to heavily congested Metro Manila.

“There is a 20-hectare government property in Floridablanca that could be an ideal area for that plan,” he said.

The Secretary shared an observation by Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Gary Olivar, who said that Pampanga is a growth area that must be fully developed.

The surge in infrastructure spending last year, Olivar said, was “further enhanced when the government adopted a stimulus spending program designed to shield the national economy from the global economic meltdown.”

Olivar explained that the infrastructure projects in Pampanga such as the flood control facilities, the Porac access road, the Lubao bypass road and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway are vital to the development of Central and Northern Luzon.

He pointed out that Pampanga is part of the President’s super region’s logistic hub, featuring the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark and the nearby Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City.

The Palace official also stressed that the government’s level of infrastructure spending varies from one part of the country to another, depending on factors such as infrastructure gap, requirement of investments and demographic growth, adding that other growth areas including Davao were being similarly developed.

“In fact, we are sure that there were other districts, not just Pampanga, where infrastructure spending last year exceeded the P450 million level that critics claim as a benchmark for favoritism,” Olivar said.

“The charge by a senatorial candidate in the opposition about alleged favoritism in infrastructure spending in the President’s home district can only be described, charitably, as a creative and selective presentation of the facts,” the Palace spokesperson added. (PNA)

LAP/OPS/ssc

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