The Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee endorsed P52.2 billion worth of infrastructure projects, including a larger port terminal in Cebu and a new toll road in Bulacan, for the approval of the National Economic and Development board headed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Neda said these projects included the widening of a Metro Manila road and six regional projects that aimed to disperse development and re-balance national economic growth to the regions.
“These projects will ensure the realization of the Duterte administration’s goals to reduce poverty and inequality by focusing on regional, rural, and agricultural development,” said Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
The lone project approved for Metro Manila was the improvement or widening of the General Luis Road Project which is estimated to cost P2.8 billion. The projects aims to improve the road condition and ease traffic flow along the 8.89-kilometer General Luis-Kaybiga-Polo-Novaliches Road, which runs from Quirino Highway in Quezon City to General MacArthur Highway in Valenzuela City.
The Public Works Department expects to start the project by January 2018 and complete it by January 2019, following a 24/7 construction schedule.
Meanwhile, the New Cebu International Container Port Project is estimated to cost P9.2 billion, with proposed funding through official development assistance. The project will be built on a 25-hectare reclaimed island in the town of Consolacion, Cebu that aims to decongest the existing Cebu International Port, which already exceeded its optimal yard utilization rate due to an increased cargo volume entering the port and its area limitation of only 14 hectares.
“The NCICP is a new and modern international container port facility necessary to sustain the level of development in Cebu,” Neda said,
The project is proposed to be implemented by the Department of Transportation and the Cebu Port Authority starting third quarter of 2017 until the second quarter of 2020.
Other projects endorsed by the Neda unit are the P10.5-billion Plaridel Bypass Toll Road Project in Bulacan; the P2.7-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project; the P21-billion expansion of the Philippine Rural Development Project; the proposed change in scope, cost and financing of the ongoing Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Stage 2 with a cost of P5.4 billion; and the scaling-up of the Second Cordillera Highlands Agricultural Resources Management Project of the Agriculture Department which is projected to cost P601.09 million.
The Plaridel Bypass Toll Road Project aims to upgrade the existing two-lane Plaridel bypass road in the province of Bulacan to a four-lane toll road expressway, including the construction of two service roads along the Barangay Burol access to Angat River.
Neda said the Duterte administration aimed to balance growth between urban and rural areas by endorsing more development projects for the region.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the National Capital Region remained the top contributor to gross domestic product from 2010 to 2015, followed by Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon and Central Luzon.
The share of NCR in GDP grew to 36.5 percent in 2015 from 35.7 percent in 2010, while Calabarzon and Central Luzon posted shares of 17.2 and 9.3 percent, respectively, in the same year.
“These three regions constitute about two-thirds of the Philippine economy’s output, which means the 14 other regions share just a third of GDP. We cannot continue to focus development on these three regions and expect to reduce massive socioeconomic inequality,” said Pernia.
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