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Sunday, April 14, 2024

NEDA board streamlines priority infra projects, hikes cost to P9.14t

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the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board chaired by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday streamlined the list of infrastructure flagship projects (IFPs) under the “Build-Better-More” program.

The board in its 14th meeting approved the addition of 23 new projects and the delisting of 36 existing ones. This revision brings the total number of IFPs to 185, representing a value of P9.14 trillion from the earlier list of 198 projects worth P8.79 trillion.

NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who also serves as the NEDA board vice chair, said the decision aims to prioritize crucial projects to ensure they receive the necessary support for efficient and accelerated implementation.

“Our list of IFPs under the ‘Build-Better-More’ program serves as a prioritization tool to identify high-impact infrastructure projects that require immediate government support. By rationalizing the list, we ensure the implementation of as many important infrastructure projects of high significance as possible,” Balisacan said.

Balisacan clarified that certain projects removed from the list would still proceed as planned as they were already part of the regular government programs.

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Meanwhile, NEDA Undersecretary Joseph Capuno reported to the NEDA board the overall progress of the projects from the previous IFP list.  He said that as of the fourth quarter of 2023, 74 IFPs were already being implemented, 30 were approved for implementation, 10 were awaiting government approval and 83 were undergoing project or pre-project preparation.

One project on the IFP list, the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project, was completed on June 30, 2023 and inaugurated on July 14 of the same year.

Among the 74 ongoing projects, 19 are scheduled to be completed this year.

“We will continue to monitor, review and update the list of IFPs as necessary to prioritize the most important infrastructure projects. The NEDA board is committed to approving measures needed to expedite the implementation of the Build-Better-More Program,” Balisacan said.

The board also approved changes in the scope of the Davao City Bypass Construction Project. This came after reassessing the overall cost of the project, considering its expanded scope and the new post-pandemic market conditions.

It approved a supplemental loan of P14.6 billion for the project, as the total cost increased to P70.8 billion. The changes will also involve extending the implementation period until Dec. 31, 2027.

The project intends to improve the physical connectivity between Davao City and Panabo City. It is expected to reduce travel time and improve the traffic situation between the two cities from 1 hour and 44 minutes to 49 minutes upon completion.

“While this project was first approved by the NEDA board in 2015, its implementation was hampered by the pandemic. The changes in the project scope and cost will ensure that this key infrastructure project receives the necessary support for its successful completion,” Balisacan said.

The NEDA board also confirmed the Integrated Water Resources Master Plan (IWMP) spearheaded by the Water Resources Management Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The IWMP will serve as the comprehensive national policy for managing water resources in the country to ensure that everyone has access to sufficient water supply at any time, particularly during adverse weather conditions such as El Niño.

“We prioritize infrastructure development as a key driver of our economy to improve the lives of every Filipino. While significant policy reforms have already been put in place to address long-standing constraints to sustainable and resilient infrastructure, we recognize the need for further efforts to boost infrastructure investment and execution,” Balisacan said.

“Thus, we will closely monitor our infrastructure flagship projects to ensure they are completed and delivered on time,” he said.

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