Amid government hype of its Build, Build, Build program, research group IBON noted that there has been a conspicuous increase in public infrastructure spending in the Davao region that seems to have favored Davao-based businessmen. The group observed that close allies of the president have benefited from the government spending surge by clinching a number of contracts.
IBON cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showing that the gross value of public construction in the Davao Region increased by 17.6% from 2016-2017. The region had the highest increase of gross value in public construction among other regions during the same period.
Among the Davao-based businessmen is the family of former Special Assistant to the President and newly-elected Senator Bong Go who through CLTG builders secured 20 contracts in 2017 for road networks in Davao, said the group. These were worth around Php3 billion in solo projects and joint ventures. In 2018, CLTG Builders also bagged Php116 million worth of projects in Davao. CLTG builders is owned by Bong Go’s father, Desiderio Go.
Another notable Davao-based businessman is Dennis Uy who, according to the president’s Statement of Contributions and Expenditures, donated around Php30 million to his presidential campaign. Data from the Public-Private Partnership Center shows that Uy has three unsolicited proposals in Davao that include the Davao International Airport worth Php48.8 billion, Davao People Mover worth Php30 billion, and the Davao Sasa Port Modernization Project worth Php18.7 billion. Another unsolicited proposal of Uy is the Pasay City Reclamation Project worth Php62 billion.
IBON meanwhile noted that other businessmen may also be gaining from the Build, Build, Build program. For instance, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar’s father, Manuel Villar, through Prime Asset Ventures Inc. (PAVI) is eyeing two unsolicited proposals worth Php213.3 billion. These include the LRT 6 Cavite Line A project worth Php56.3 billion, and the Cavite LRT Line 6c and Sucat Line 6b Projects worth Php157 billion.
IBON reiterated that while the country badly needs infrastructure, genuine development from the Build, Build, Build program can only be achieved if it supports the development of domestic agriculture and Filipino industries. The Duterte government should not be beholden to its backers and instead pursue an infrastructure program that is not profit-oriented and provides for the Filipino people’s welfare, said the group. ###