Infrastructure a key cog to progress

IT’S been said here a lot of times, but I’ll have to say it again, because it needs to be hammered into our coconuts time and again for its perennial relevance.  And so, here it is again: Infrastructure is a key cog to declog a traffic-infested city anywhere, not only in our country but the whole wide world, as well.

Let’s go local

When PresidentDuterte‘s infrastructure thrust is finally put in place, it must be backed up by the government’s reenergized vision to implement road, sea and air laws to the letter.  To make that successful, reeducate our traffic managers on the trio of journeys, particularly on how to truly and scientifically manage vital arteries to ensure the smooth flow of vehicles, big and small, seaborne or airborne crafts, with the end in view of helping protect the advances gained from sustained progress.

Anyone questioning that doesn’t know his Logic 101.

We don’t even need a rocket scientist to unlock the secret of orderly living, which is chiefly anchored on safe, sweet and serene travel any time of day.

I was in Siquijor, Dumaguete, Cebu and Bacolod the past three weeks or so.  The trips were basically a combination of work and pleasure (when did columnists ever get to travel in total satisfaction when they are going out of town?).  They don’t work, they don’t eat.

No complaints, though You make a choice, live with it.

Learn to live with it.

Every trip was a whirlwind to remember, yes, but was I glad to see in all four major places how the top executives there do try their best to improve/widen roads and bridges not only in major arteries but even in areas with the potential for growth, as though they are now of the emerging economies kind.

Is the present dispensation’s thrust of massive infrastructure mantra rubbing off on our local government factotums?

Top priority

LOOK, infrastructure has, indeed, been a top priority under Duterte’s reign.  Of the nearly P3.8-trillion budget proposed for 2018, about P1.58 trillion has been earmarked for cement, steel and wood coverage.  If you haven’t noticed it yet, woe to you: Most of the current regimen’s infrastructure budget is geared toward spending, now covering a total of 28 big-ticket projects.

Worth a whopping P658 billion, the construction charge will build more roads, more bridges, more flyovers, more seaports, more railways and train stations, more tollways, more expressways, more drainage, more flood-control projects and more airports.  The building binge will not only be in Metro Manila and Luzon but in the Visayas and Mindanao, as well.

That is massive, I tell you.

Include in the mission the serious consideration of an additional world-class runway to augment the lone international runway at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Pasay City.  For, in all of Asia, we seem to be one of only three countries with a single international runway.  And we are supposed to be the fastest-rising tourist hub in the region the last five years or so. Do you know that the Naia handled almost 40 million passengers last year, when our rated capacity is only 30 million passengers annually?

Airlines competition

AIRLINES are constantly increasing, putting on the defensive such giants like Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu-Pacific in the battle for airspace.  But to counter the challenge, PAL has jacked up its fleet flights, hoping to acquire a total of market-leading 83 jets by 2018 if plants won’t go awry.

We badly need not only a second global runway at the Naia but also another of its kind at other international airports, like Clark, Cebu and Davao.  Why, because we are not only a growing economy but an emerging economy, as well.

And speaking of the construction of new airports to meet the increasing number of passenger arrivals, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President Ramon S. Ang has revived SMC’s $10-billion airstrip proposal to sit on a 1,600-hectare lot south of the metropolis. When completed, the airport will have its own low-cost carrier terminal, a train system and a dedicated tollway for easy access to the new gateway.

Toyota and Mitsubishi

IT goes without saying, too, that with growth becoming irreversibly inevitable, manufacturing is catching up fast so that our own car companies are now also into shift production mode since the presidential changeover in July 2016.

Powerhouse Toyota and Mitsubishi had gone ahead of the pack with their decisive move to join the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy incentive-based program, which is deemed to accelerate car production, in the process helping curb the country’s nagging unemployment problem.

Very visible, likewise, are ongoing expansion of seaport terminals in Cebu’s nearby Mandaue (SMC is taking the lead again) and Bacolod’s own environs to include revitalized trading ports toward its ever-progressing next-door neighbors Iloilo, Dumaguete and, yes, Siquijor.

I came, I saw, I salivated.

Travel thrills, indeed.

PEE STOP As I said, I may have missed the Vios Cup races last weekend in Clark due to my successive out-of-town trips, but deep in Jade B. Sison’s heart, she knew I was there in spirit.  Cheers to the Vios Cup winners and Jade’s A-Team, who made great strides again in ensuring the pleasant stay of my colleagues who covered the event!…Our deepest gratitude to Joe and Pat Cajili of the famed Bacolod Chicken House. Joe and Pat, together with Ramon and May Uy, made sure our stay in Bacolod would be that meaningful and thoroughly worth remembering.  Thank you so much, guy.