Miriam Santiago vows infrastructure boom if elected president

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Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago arrives at the Commission on Election headquarters in Manila to file her certificate of candidacy (COC) for president under the People's Reform Party on Friday. Santiago also announced Sen. Bongbong Marcos would be her running mate for the 2016 elections.(MNS photo)

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago arrives at the Commission on Election headquarters in Manila to file her certificate of candidacy (COC) for president under the People’s Reform Party on Friday. Santiago also announced Sen. Bongbong Marcos would be her running mate for the 2016 elections.(MNS photo)

BIÑAN, LAGUNA (Mabuhay) – Presidential candidate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Tuesday said her administration will invest heavily on public infrastructure projects if she wins in the upcoming elections.

In a speech delivered before the students of the University of Perpetual Help System -Biñan Campus, Santiago hit fellow candidates who are allegedly making empty promises if elected as president particularly in terms of job creation.

“The candidates have been saying, we will create more jobs! But nothing has really happened. That’s because they don’t mean what they say. E ni hindi nga nila ma-identify kung anong trabaho ang i-create nila e,” Santiago said.

Santiago pointed out that to create additional jobs, the government must first improve the business climate in the country, and this, she said, can be achieved by developing infrastructure and eradicating corruption.

“In order to provide employment, we have to have additional jobs, in order to have good jobs, we have to have good businesses. In order to have good businesses we have to have capital. How can we attract the capitalists if we don’t have good infrastructure at laganap ang corruption?” Santiago said.

Santiago had been repeatedly saying that if she wins as president she will continue her advocacy of fighting corruption in the government and send corrupt officials to jail.

“Kapag nanalo na ako na president kailangang manalangin na lahat ng corrupt officials dahil kulong lahat sila sa akin!” Santiago declared drawing cheers from the crowd.

In terms of infrastructure, Santiago said her administration will allot five percent of its total resources for public infrastructure projects to catch up with the rapidly developing neighbors.

Santiago took a swipe at President Benigno Aquino III, saying that his administration has done very little to improve the country’s poor infrastructure, especially the urban transportation system.

“The poor state of public infrastructure that this administration inherited from its predecessor was pushed back further during the last five years. When I assume office, I will hit the ground running,” Santiago said.

“We cannot build modern infrastructure on the basis of promises alone. It will have to be financed through better tax administration, tax policy reform, and government borrowings,” Santiago added.

Santiago said that among the infrastructure projects she will immediately launch if elected as president were a modernized international airport, “an entirely new” railway system from Manila to Sorsogon and a modern, integrated urban transit system in Metro Manila with lines reaching urban communities in Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna.

In a press statement issued after the event, Santiago said her administration will also initiate the construction of one mixed-use government center with adjacent residential, commercial and entertainment facilities in the National Capital Region and in each of 17 regions of the country.

Santiago said one major infrastructure project will also be launched per province.

Santiago said these projects will be realized through public-private partnership, public procurement “or a hybrid of both.”

She said that her administration will allot P819 billion budget for these projects in 2017 and increase it to P1.3 trillion by 2022 to be sourced through loans, “for as long as the returns are greater than the costs.”

“To make the facilities affordable to citizens, the government will not require a premium from winning contractors. In fact, in some cases, because of the benefits, government subsidy may be allowed,” Santiago said in a statement.(MNS)

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