NEDA board approves Tutuban-Sorsogon railway, 7 other projects
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, approved 9 projects on Monday, November 14.
One of the projects approved during the NEDA board meeting is the South Line of the North-South Railway Project, a train that will run from Tutuban in Manila to Sorsogon in Bicol. This project was not approved at the first NEDA board meeting in September.
NEDA Director-General Ernesto Pernia, quoted in an Inquirer article, said the 653-kilometer railway will cost P214 billion, making it the biggest Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project.
Duterte, before he assumed the presidency, had said he aims to build 3 legacy railways in Luzon and Mindanao during his term.
The projects approved in the Monday meeting are worth around P270 billion, said Pernia in a message to Palace reporters.
In the first NEDA board meeting last September, 9 projects worth P171.14 billion were approved.
The approved projects, released by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, are the following:
- Scaling up of the Second Cordillera Highlands Agricultural Resources Management Project
- Expansion of the Philippine Rural Development Project
- Improvement/ Widening of General Luis-Kaybiga-Polo-Novaliches Road to Valenzuela City
- New Cebu International Port
- North-South Railway Project - South Line
- Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project, Stage 2
- New Nayong Pilipino at Entertainment City
- Improvement, widening of road from Quirino Highway, Quezon City, to Gen MacArthur Highway
The Chico River Pump Irrigation Project was discussed during the meeting but deferred with instructions for the National Irrigation Administration to reconfigure the project so it includes hydropower. The NIA was also told to gather more information on what type of crops may be profitably grown in the area around the Chico River.
During the NEDA board meeting, guidelines for processing projects that involve assistance from Chinese parties were also discussed.
Some of these guidelines include:
- The source of financing for pre-investment studies are not tied to a particular country/technology/lender
- Suppliers are qualified and of "good standing"
- Contracts are favorable to government
The discussion on guidelines comes after Duterte's state visit to China where Memoranda of Understanding between the government and Chinese companies were signed.
But some of these Chinese companies were found to have shady track records. One firm was involved in a string of accidents in Vietnam, while another was banned by multilateral lender World Bank.
The Palace later clarified that the government has made no commitments to these companies and had only agreed to allow the companies to do "feasibility studies." – Rappler.com