SEVEN infrastructure projects amounting to more than P270 billion over the next three to five years got the nod of the National Economic and Development Authority board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, to hasten investments in the Duterte administration’s “Golden Age of Infrastructure.”
Among the projects approved by the Neda board last Monday were the P214-billion, 653-kilometer south line of the North-South railway project, which will be the biggest PPP project to date; P2.8-billion improvement and widening of the General Luis-Kaybiga-Polo-Novaliches Road to MacArthur Highway at Valenzuela City; the P9.2-billion New Cebu international container port project; and an undisclosed amount for the New Nayong Pilipino complex in Entertainment City, Pasay.
Three projects, meanwhile, will focus on agriculture including the P601-million scaling-up of the second Cordillera highlands agricultural resources management project; the P5.4-billion Malitubog-Maridagao irrigation project stage 2; and P21-billion Philippine rural development project expansion.
The NEDA board likewise tapped the Investment Coordinating Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority to vet companies seeking to forge deals with the government following reports that Chinese firms with dubious reputations want to invest in key projects.
Five airport projects in Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, Laguindingan, and Bohol that were originally packaged into one bidding were “unbundled” by the Neda board to allow the Transportation Department and the Civil Aviations Authority of the Philippines to decide on the bidding process.
Another infrastructure project on agriculture, the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project was deferred after the National Irrigation Administration was instructed to reconfigure the project to include hydropower, and information on crops that could be profitably grown in the area based on soil type, and submit said information for ICC review.
The Neda board had previously approved nine projects worth P171.14 billion set to be completed within the next six years.
During the previous administration, the Neda board only approved only 12 projects, referring to the public-private partnership projects granted the go-ahead by the previous government.