DPWH SEC. MARK VILLAR
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar ushers the nation into the Golden Age of Infrastructure
BY KRISTEL DACUMOS-LAGORZA
Sec. Mark Villar’s assumption into office as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary was met with a little hesitation as many believed that his being the son of incumbent Sen. Cynthia Villar and real estate mogul (and former Presidential hopeful) Manuel Villar would pose a conflict of interest.
But since taking office, Sec. Mark Villar is bearing his family name with pride, and has become the firm hand behind the boldest and most ambitious infrastructure program in history.
TAKING UP THE CHALLENGE
When President Rodrigo Duterte laid out his 10-point socioeconomic agenda called “DuterteNomics,” many were impressed with his grand vision. It was an ambitious proposal, to say the least, and the Commander-in-Chief wants this all to be achieved during his term.
As part of his socioeconomic agenda, President Duterte aims to reduce poverty from 21.6% in 2015 to 13-15% by 2022. This would be achieved by driving reforms that would accelerate infrastructure and the development of industries that would yield robust growth across the archipelago. Investing in key infrastructure projects would spur economic activity, welcoming foreign investments, creating jobs, and increasing incomes of Filipinos across the board.
This year alone, President Duterte has raised the budget of infra-spending to 5.4% (of GDP), more than double the average of 2.6% in the past six administrations in the past 50 years. His allotment of P8-9 trillion on bigticket items such as railways and ports aims to “prime the pump” for progress. Sec. Villar is the man tasked with making sure that all of this is realized
BUILDING FOUNDATIONS FOR PROGRESS
“Needless to say, we’ve been very busy, as we’ve been fast-tracking many of these projects. I’m excited because the projects that we’ll be starting this year are very large scale, and you’ll really feel the effects,” shares Sec. Villar, the former congressman representing the lone district of Las Piñas. (His wife, Rep. Emmeline Aglipay Villar, assumed to the post as interim congressman when Sec. Villar joined the Cabinet of the President last Aug. 1, 2016).