First NEDA board under Duterte okays 9 infra projects

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First NEDA board under Duterte okays 9 infra projects
The total cost of the projects is estimated at P171.14 billion. NEDA also introduces some policy changes to speed up the approval process.

MANILA, Philippines – The new administration took the first steps toward delivering on promises of more spending after green-lighting 9 projects after the first board meeting on September 14 of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The 9 accepted projects will ring up a total estimated cost of P171.14 billion and include those focused on transport infrastructure as well as health and agriculture.

“Once implemented and completed, these approved projects will help attain our medium- and long-term development goals of making the agricultural sector competitive, improving mobility by making our transport system safer and more efficient, increasing disaster resiliency, and improving health services,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a statement on Thursday, September 15.

Despite earlier recommendations, the North-South Railway connecting Manila to Bicol and the Mindanao Railway, considered a priority by Duterte, were not approved during the session.

The projects are:

1. Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) PPP Project of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA)

The public-private partnerhip or PPP project is the DOTr’s medium-term solution for congestion at the country’s main international gateway and is estimated to be achievable in 3 years.

It aims to improve safety and security, as well as to maximize capacity through “refreshed” infrastructure (airside requirements such as air traffic management), and improve passenger service standards in the existing NAIA. (READ: Art Tugade and his inherited headaches)

The implementation is through a concession to the private sector for the refurbishing or addition of assets for air traffic and landside management, and passenger services.

The private firm will also operate and maintain the airport (both airside and landside) according to international standards

The project’s total estimated cost is P74.6 billion with the concession period set for 15-20 years, including the design/construction period. The DOTr expects to begin PPP procurement immediately following approval, and to award and sign a concession agreement by September 2017.

2. Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)-EDSA of the DOTr

The project aims to provide alternative mass transit in Metro Manila by establishing a BRT system route of 48.6 kilometers along EDSA covering Monumento up to Diosdado Macapagal Avenue/Roxas Boulevard, with integrated routes between the Ortigas Business District, Bonifacio Global City, and the Makati Business District.

The BRT is also planned to link with the NAIA terminals and include off-corridors to the target Integrated Transport System terminals in the north, south, and southwest of Metro Manila, and in the vicinity of SM Fairview.

It involves the construction of dedicated lanes with busways, depots, and as many as 63 stations/terminals.

These lanes include one lane per direction between stations, and two lanes per direction at stations.

The project will also include procurement of high-capacity buses, installation of a smart signaling system at intersections, a central control system, and a contactless automatic fare collection system.

The project’s total estimated cost is P37.8 billion with an implementation period of about 3 years (2017-2019). The project is expected to be operational in 2020.

3. Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center Modernization (EVRMC) Project of the Department of Health (DOH)

The project will expand the capacity of the presently overcrowded regional medical center from a 325-bed to a 500-bed capacity.

NEDA noted that the modernization of this regional medical center is a needed investment for Eastern Visayas, one of the poorest regions of the country, to catch up on the Millennium Development Goals of improving maternal health and decreasing infant mortality especially for indigent households.

The project’s total estimated cost is P2.4 billion and it is expected to be completed within 30 months.

4. Modernization of Gov Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital Project also of DOH

The project will expand the capacity of the presently overcrowded hospital from a 225-bed to a 500-bed capacity.

The project’s total estimated cost is P2.2 billion with an implementation period of 24 months.

5. Metro Manila Flood Management Project, Phase I of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)

This project includes the rehabilitation of 36 pumping stations located in Manila, Pasay, Taguig, Makati, and Malabon through the replacement of pumps, and the construction of 20 new pumping stations in Manila, Pasay, Pasig, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Caloocan, Valenzuela, and Quezon City.

It will also minimize solid waste in waterways to reduce flood risks. The project involves participatory housing and resettlement, project management, support, and coordination.

The NEDA Board approved the project with the instruction to include the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as implementing partners of DPWH and MMDA in the participatory housing and resettlement component.

The project’s total estimated cost is P23.5 billion with an implementation period of 6 years.

6. Increase in Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) Area of the Bicol International Airport of the DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) 

The project entails the construction of a new domestic-Principal Class 1 airport of international standard in Daraga, Albay which will increase the airport’s PTB floor area from the original 5,250 square meters to 13,220 square meters.

It will also extend the existing runway from 2.1 kilometers to 2.5 kilometers.

It also involves the redesign of the navigation aids, security equipment, and airport rescue and fire-fighting vehicles to comply with current standards. 

NEDA pointed out that the project was upgraded to address the expected passenger volume of about 2.15 million by 2025, which may rise to about 4.4 million by 2035, given the increasing tourist and domestic travel to the Bicol region.

The project’s total estimated cost is P4.8 billion, and it is expected to be completed in 2020.

7. Change in Scope of the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project also of the DOTr and CAAP

The change in the project, which relocates the existing domestic Tagbilaran Airport to a new airport facility of international standards in Panglao Island, includes the extension of the runway from 2 kilometers to 2.5 kilometers; the change in the PTB from single-story to two-stories with Passenger Boarding Bridges, including an expansion in floor area from an estimated 8,400 square meters to approximately 13,300 square meters.

NEDA said the change is due to new international airport capacity and airline requirements arising from the expected increase in domestic and international airline passengers to Bohol and other tourism destinations in Visayas.

The change will increase the total project cost to P7.8 billion from the original P7.4 billion and is expected to be completed by June 2018.

8. Inclusive Partnership for Agricultural Competitiveness (IPAC) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)

The project will assist smallholder farmers and farmer organizations in 50 agrarian reform community clusters across 44 provinces in 14 regions.

NEDA noted that IPAC will enhance linkage of 300,000 farmers and 650 farmer organizations to viable markets and establish partnerships with private enterprises, and is expected to generate 30,000 jobs for landless farmers and women.

It will focus on the production of copra, organic and low-chem rice, cacao, cassava, coffee, oil palm, Muscovado sugar, abaca, and rubber.

The project’s total estimated cost is P10.2 billion and it is expected to be completed within 5 years.

9. Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the PCG, Phase II of the DOTr and Philippine Coast Guard

The project involves the acquisition of two heavy weather, high endurance 94-meter Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs), to provide the PCG with vessels with a cruising range capability of 4,000 nautical miles, which can be used in Sea-State 6 (wave height of up to 6 meters) in rough sea condition, and capable of continuous maritime patrol up to 15 days at 15 knots.

The PCG said that each vessel will enable them to recover as much as 500 passengers in the event of a sea disaster.

The project will cost P8 billion, with vessels expected to be delivered by November 2020.

Policy changes

Aside from the approved projects, the NEDA Board also adopted new policies to streamline the government’s approval process for major public investment projects.

The Board lowered the economic hurdle rate, or the minimum rate of return on a project required by an investor, to 10% from the previous 15% due to the country’s improved economy.

NEDA also raised the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) project cost floor from P1 billion to P5 billion to declog the pipeline of projects for ICC approval and to promote greater flexibility and accountability of line departments in implementing priority projects. 

Under the new arrangement, approval of projects worth less than P5 billion will be delegated to heads of agencies, but will be reported to the ICC prior to implementation.

The NEDA Board also approved the streamlining of ICC review procedures for minor changes in scope, design, cost, and extension of implementation or loan/grant validity of projects. 

Approvals of these projects will now be delegated to the level of the ICC, the Department of Finance, and the NEDA Secretariat, as applicable, based on existing laws and regulations. – 

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