Sinong defensive? Vince Dizon falls flat in defending infra projects, lectures media on how to do job
Don’t blame Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon for being in a bad mood during a rare press conference in Malacanang.
It’s hard enough for Dizon to defend his role in the haphazard selection of 75 flagship projects for the overhyped, white elephant-filled “Build, Build, Build” program, the former errand boy of then Senator Alan Cayetano had a tougher time convincing reporters that the government would complete 38 projects before President Rodrigo Duterte stepped down in 2022.
Dizon got irritated with GMA New reporter Joseph Morong wanted to focus on the 75 flagship projects (that Senator Franklin Drilon called a “dismal failure” because only two have been completed after three years) instead of a revised list of 100 projects that he wanted media to focus on in their reports.
“I know I’m supposed to answer a question here from you but seriously, I’d rather not, why, because that’s not the list anymore. Why are you asking me a list of seventy-five when we’re—the government is already telling you that the list is now one hundred and that is the ‘new list’,” said Dizon.
Dizon, who was part of the core group which selected the 75 flagship projects in 2016, insisted that the list was “evolving” and “not cast in stone” apparently to deflect his team’s abject failure in translating their rhetoric into actual roads, bridges, trains, sea and airports.
Dizon said the media got it wrong for claiming that the Build program and list of flagship projects were one and the same – he said the flagship projects (“We didn’t invent the term it started during the Ramos administration”) were just a fraction of the “universe” of thousands of projects under the P8 trillion Build program (P4 trillion of which are for flagship projects). Dizon focused on semantics to show that the government completed more than the two flagship projects cited by Drilon.
“I’m sure a lot of people in the media is gonna spin that again that the government only completed two even if I’ve already shown you that we’ve completed several. But that’s fine. You know, that’s up to you,” he said.
“But my point is, why are you forcing me to talk about a list of seventy five when the government is already telling you that this is a revised list? I’m not gonna answer it,” he added.
When he was told he was being defensive, Dizon said: “It’s not defensive. It’s just because you insist on asking me questions that to me at this point are not relevant.”
Dizon was also evasive about giving exact details on how many white elephants were on the original list; how many projects were added; and how many would be funded by government and private sector.
Despite refusing to dwell on the issue, Bloomberg’s Dreo Calonzo pressed Dizon to admit that his team was wrong in picking the 75 flagship projects for the Build program.
“Yes, yeah. I’m sure that’s going to be the story tomorrow, but yes. We’re being honest. That’s why we have to revisit. ‘Di ba we chose, for example, those bridges that are infeasible. But we are honest enough to tell everybody that, ‘Hey, it’s not feasible pa eh.’ Hindi pa siya feasible so huwag muna nating gawin,” he said.