MANILA – Labor groups on Wednesday thanked resigned Department of Public Ways and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar for the massive employment opportunities created under the government’s Build, Build, Build (BBB) program.
“These ‘BBB’ jobs held the country together during the most difficult time of the pandemic when companies shut down and employment fell to the onslaught of Covid-19,” said Gerard Seno, national executive vice president of Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), in a statement.
“The strategic purpose of these new facilities and infrastructures that Sec. Villar led to build are new key foundations for workers and businesses’ common struggle to economically rebound from the pandemic health and economic crises,” he added.
Villar resigned on Wednesday as he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator in the 2022 national and local elections.
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Villar as secretary of DPWH in July 2016.
Under Villar’s leadership, the DPWH’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ projects have constructed a total of 29,264 kilometers of roads and highways; 5,950 new and refurbished bridges; built 11,340 flood control systems, 150,148 classrooms, 222 evacuation centers, 739 Covid-19 facilities, and 133 facilities for police and military personnel. These projects created a total of 6.5 million direct and indirect jobs.
Christina Aquino, president of informal economy workers under San Jose Workers Association (SJWA), also thanked Villar, saying the agency’s projects have transformed the lives of people living in depressed communities.
“The DPWH’s new roads, new bridges, and new schools under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program transformed our depressed communities with new and faster access to schools for our children and more markets for our livelihood products. Secretary Villar is a rare gift to poor people like us,” she said.
Ugnayan Ng Mga Maralitang Tagalungsod Para Sa Reporma – National Capital Region Coordinating Council Convenor Emily Sevilla said Villar is best remembered by the urban poor communities for his standard-setting sterling accomplishments in the DPWH.
“His great performance during his stint reversed the unwholesome image of DPWH and rightfully restored the faith and trust of the people to the agency,” she added. (PNA)