Dispatch from Crame No. 472: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on Duterte’s claim of delay in the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program due to lack of skilled workers


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Contrary to what was dubbed as the “boldest infrastructure development program in recent Philippine history,” Duterte’s ‘Build Build Build’ program, with its promise to build enormous and flagship infrastructures that will be “remembered”, seems to be on the brink of collapse – its grandiloquent promises to be reduced into rubbles and ashes.

Duterte and his economic team shifted the gears of our economic policy towards a risky fling with China, and even overhauled the country’s tax system just to finance this ambitious plan. Indeed, there is nothing more treacherous than sleeping with the enemy to gain nothing but a diminished and seriously undermined sovereignty. He was like a moth – dancing, philandering and screwing hard with flames he knew would burn the wings of our country. And for what? For government projects that cannot be enjoyed by the majority of Filipinos caught in the middle of scorching poverty and a sick, perverted and extremely flawed drug war? Tunay nga na hindi kayang itago ang alingasaw at baho – bihisan man ito ng palamuti at ginto.

The government’s grossly inefficient implementation of the ‘Build Build Build’ program consistently manifests itself to the public. No flowery words nor glittery promises can hide the truth. From the COA report that P73.351-billion worth of infrastructure projects were either delayed, suspended, terminated, or unimplemented in 2017 costing the government P27.647 million in commitment fees to banks; to inflation woes that perpetually torment Filipino households who suffer both higher taxes and ballooning costs of basic goods and services; to the lack of absorptive capacity of government to implement the numerous projects that were approved, and the most recent sham – a lie concocted to herald in a new era where foreign workers are prioritized over starving and poverty-stricken Filipinos, in blatant violation of Art. XII, Sec. 12 of the Constitution which mandates the State to “promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods, and adopt measures that help make them competitive” – imagine our country of 100 million lacking skilled workers?

Duterte, unmindful of the casualties, was ever so quick to step on the brakes of the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program – so as to usher in the further influx of foreign workers at the expense of our own. Pag-ibig sa bayan na sinuklian ng sariling presidente ng pakiki-apid sa kaaway. Wala na ngang sasaklap pa sa dugo at pawis na handang ialay sa tinubuang lupa, na isinintabi, binalewala, pinagtaksilan. At hindi lang trinaydor, kundi ininsulto pa ang manggagawang Pilipino.

Mr. President, mayroon tayong higit kumulang 4 milyong Techical Vocational Graduates na inulat sa January 2017 Labor Force Survey ng PSA. Paano mo kayang sikmurain na i-etsepwera sila, para lamang lambingin ang mga pwersa na walang ibang nais kung hindi agawin sa atin ang ating bansa? Ani pa mismo ng pinuno ng iyong ‘Build Build Build’ Committee, na sapat ang mga manggagawang Pilipino na kayang magtrabaho at isakatuparan ang ‘Build Build Build’ program upang sila’y magkaroon ng pagkaing ihahain sa kanilang pamilya at pang-aral ng kanilang mga anak. Hindi ba nila sinasabi na ang ‘Build Build Build’ ay isang ring pagkakataon upang hikayatin na magbalik sa Pilipinas ang mga manggagawa nating may kakayahan na nagtatrabaho sa mga katulad na proyekto sa imprastruktura sa Gitnang Silangan at sa iba pang mga lugar?

Our country is so beautiful, our resources abound, and our people are more than capable and equipped. Why do you choose to serve the interests of foreigners over your own countrymen? Why do you have to pawn us to the would-be invaders that suck the life out of our nation? Stop prostituting our lands, stop raping the rights of our countrymen. Tigilan mo na ang pangba-baboy sa bayan. ###

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