The politiko-son of bilyonaryo Danding Cojuangco has been tapped to lead a new congressional committee on flagship projects created by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to rescue the “Build, Build, Bulid” program cocked up by his Senate staff, Flagship Projects Chair Vince Dizon.
Cayetano told reporters that Tarlac Rep. Charlie Cojuangco would the new committee that would look over flagship programs that Senator Franklin Drilon branded as a “dismal failure” after Dizon completed only two of the 75 projects (that he touted as the “golden age of infrastructure” in the Philippines) after three years.
“Its duty will not only be to criticize but also to propose, paano mapabilis and even for Congress to be able to propose as an institution other flagship programs. So I’m confident of the Build, Build, Build program, ang problema nga ay you can’t build overnight but this year, next year, and the last year of the President, 2022, makikita niyo ang resulta ng Build, Build, Build,” said Cayetano.
Cayetano said that while it was the prerogative of the Senate minority to criticize the shortcomings of the Duterte administration, he called it a deception to call the flagship project a dismal failure.
“Puwede bang mas marami at bilisan? Siyempre, I mean, you can always say that, we made 10 and ang target natin 10, we can go to 15. But having said that, there are also challenges, kahit saan ka pumunta, whether private or public sector, ang mga kontratista, umaangal ‘yan na kulang na ang workers sa dami nga kasi ng ginagawa not only ng gobyerno but pati ng public sector ‘no?” said Cayetano.
Dizon, as head of the Bases Conversion Development Authority, was a key member of the core Cabinet-level team which drew up the 75 flagship projects in 2016. Dizon himself was appointed to lead negotiations with China for the massive loans promised by President Xi Jinping. (Drilon said China’s failure to deliver on its loan promises was one of the reasons why the flagship projects bombed).
Drilon accused Dizon of resorting to “cosmetic” reconstruction when he removed 28 projects “white elephant” projects and replaced these with 53 on-going projects (which brought the flagship projects tally from 75 down to 43 and up to 100) just to make Dutertes scorecard on infrastructure projects more palatable.